In The Cloister Walk, Norris, a poet foremost and Benedictine oblate secondly, "walks" through a series of personal and liturgical meditations. In doing so she spins a metaphorical web around the central hub of her stay at a modern-day Benedictine monastery.
The spokes of her web are many and varied, ranging from the value of poetry in our society, the Virgin Martyrs, her marriage, the Psalms, and the monastery's liturgy schedule. Onto these radii she spins her spiral of personal anecdotes, stories and reflections.
Although grounded in the Christian faith, Norris keeps her cards on the issue close to her chest. She allows readers the latitude to contemplate their own feelings and responses to each of the issues she raises, many of which have challenged us for centuries. Although termed a "walk," Norris's book is more meandering in nature, one to savour and perhaps return to on occasion.
- Sue Warren