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"...a not exactly religious commercial practice..."

Pete Hamill, on J.F. Powers:
"He has etched curates and monsignors dueling for the favors of a bishop; old pastors outfoxing young assistants; bored bishops made uncomfortable by the zeal of young priests. His theme is almost always the conflict between the true religious spirit and a not exactly religious commercial practice, and his heroes are men - not saints or devils."
I'm halfway through Powers' Morte D'Urban, which won the National Book Award in 1963. I'm enjoying the novel quite a bit, particularly the tug between the spiritual and the worldly, which is represented by many of the priests in the book to one extreme or the other, but with both extremes combined in the form of Father Urban, the protagonist. There are occasional echoes of Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry (an inevitable comparison, given both the subject matter and setting), although I find Powers' satire to be much more subtle, wry and effective than Lewis showed with Gantry, which often seemed more like a polemic than a novel.

October 7, 2013 in Books | Permalink

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