The Habitation of the Blessed

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The Habitation of the Blessed
Cover of the first edition of Palimpsest
Author Catherynne M. Valente
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre Fiction, Fantasy, Novel
Publisher Night Shade Books
Publication date
November 2010
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages Approx. 352 pages
ISBN 978-1-59780-199-7 (pbk.)

The Habitation of the Blessed - subtitled A Dirge for Prester John, Volume One - is a fantasy novel by Catherynne M. Valente, published in November 2010.


The novel, a reimagining of the legend of Prester John, begins with the accidental discovery by a missionary monk, Brother Hiob of Luzerne, of a curious village containing a tree whose branches bear books instead of fruit. He plucks three of them, and within them finds three different perspectives on the life of Prester John in the magical land of Pentexore - one by the man himself, one by his Blemmye wife Hagia, and one by a Panotii woman named Imtithal, storyteller and nurse to the royal family. The narrative of the book shifts back and forth between the three texts, interspersed with the reflections of Brother Hiob as he struggles both to transcribe them before the book-fruits rot away and to contend with the vast differences between the stories he finds there and the idealized vision of the legendary king he had previously held.


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