Further thoughts on Morte D'Urban
Paging through my writing journal, I happened to come across this entry dated 10/1/13. It neatly encapsulates my feelings about J.F. Powers' great Morte D'Urban, my favorite book of last year.
At first glance I was surprised, even impressed, that a layman like J.F. Powers could write so intelligently about the inner lives of priests. But now I realize, at page 90 of Morte D’Urban, that there’s been no prayer and little preaching, almost nothing about these priests’ spiritual lives. Instead, it’s about the mundane, everyday tasks and worldly obsessions of a bunch of career men. (And quite funny, too, in a subtle and wry way.) It’s showing the universality of priests--instead of being special and a breed apart, they’re every bit the same petty, jealous, closed-minded strivers the rest of us are. And that is one of the book’s greatest strengths.I gave the book as a Christmas gift to my mom, who lived through Father Urban's era and has always been fascinated with Christianity, as both faith and institution. I thought the book would be perfect for her. I'm looking forward to hearing what she thinks of it.