Like ‘Groundhog Day’ in Hell, ‘Lent’ Traces the Recurring Lives of a Heretic Monk

Cory Doctorow at the LA Times:

“Lent” opens with a beautifully rendered retelling of the life of Savonarola: his visions of demons, his prophecy, his political meddling and his role in vast historical forces tearing apart Italy and France. We meet a cast of characters, each with the ringing verisimilitude of well-researched, real historical personages from the heretical Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola to the statesman Lorenzo de’ Medici and various clergy, peasants, nuns and friars of feuding orders. Finally, we come to the martyrdom of Savonarola, hanged over a roaring flame, then cut down to fall into the blaze …

… And then to wake again, in hell, where Savonarola remembers — again, after an unknowable number of previous iterations — that he is a demon, a fallen angel, a duke of hell, cast out of God’s light. In an instant, his whole earthly existence is invalidated: his life as a mystic and prophet, a caster out of demons, a scourger of wickedness, all irrelevant. He has lost the grace he once had and is condemned to repeat his life as Savonarola over and over, tortured in between by endless and instantaneous sojourns in hell, where all grace is denied.

more here.