Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Morte D'Urban (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – May 31, 2000
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
The satire, of course, is itself worth the price of admission. Poor Father Urban, mired in a 10th-rate religious order!
It seemed to him that the Order of St. Clement labored under the curse of mediocrity, and had done so almost from the beginning. In Europe, the Clementines hadn't (it was always said) recovered from the French Revolution. It was certain that they hadn't ever really got going in the New World. Their history revealed little to brag about--one saint (the Holy Founder) and a few bishops of missionary sees, no theologians worthy of the name, no original thinkers, not even a scientist. The Clementines were unique in that they were noted for nothing at all.The clash between this ecclesiastical overachiever and his underachieving brethren never loses its comedic charge. It also occasions plenty of politicking and ex cathedra combat, involving not only the Clementines but various diocesan heavyweights. Who will win this holy war? When Father Urban lures unbelievers to the order's Minnesota property with a world-class golf course--complete with a "shrine of Our Lady below No. 5 green"--his triumph seems assured. Yet his ability to balance between the secular and the sacred is what ultimately collapses, along with his "secret ascendancy over the life around him." In an age when fiction seems to have lost some of its power to instruct and amuse (and not necessarily in that order), Morte D'Urban is brilliant enough to make believers of us all. --James Marcus
From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
This novel operates on many levels. It shows the tenacity of Father Urban in creating a role for himself in the community surrounding Dusterhaus after what was deemed to be his exile there. It is a funny, tightly-written story and the characterization, of Father Urban's colleagues, of the Catholic hierarchy, and of the townspeople and parishoners is acute. Most important it is a story of the difficulty of serving both God and Mammon and of the need and nature for compromise in the work of the Catholic Church in a pluralistic, materialistic, and essentially secular America. There are wonderful descriptions of scenery and people. I particularly enjoyed the discussions of train travel in the Midwest which recall an America vanished not so very long ago... The book features a thoughtful introduction by Elizabeth Hardwick who describes the book as a "most valuable and lasting American novel."
This book is for you if you are interested in books about the United States, about religious experience in the United States, or in unjustly neglected American classics.
Father Urban is the go-getter with high hopes for his order. A popular preacher--the type of priest with whom you can have a beer (or something stronger)--Urban is on the constant lookout for potential donors and is quite willing to overlook a little vice among his flock in exchange for higher congregational participation and the greater financial good of his organization. The problem, however, is that the Clementine headquarters in Chicago and its Father Provincial share one intractable quality: bureaucratic inertia. Urban's grand plans to secure his order's economic well-being, increase its visibility, and transform its old-fashioned torpor to a flashier modernity are stymied by his fellow priests' contentedness with their lowly standing.
For his efforts, Urban is soon sent packing to the Protestant backwaters of Minnesota, to a decrepit retreat house run by a penny-pinching and somewhat incompetent rector. Making the most of a bad situation, Urban applies his charm to the local Catholic population, to a new group of potential donors, and, eventually, to the refurbishment of the retreat itself, including the addition of a nine-hole golf course.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There can be no doubt that this is a well written, humorous book.
This was written towards the end of an era of Catholic literature. Read more
And the satire is all on him. At least, to my mind, it was. Can't be sure I read as intended. Nope, not a-tall.Published 10 months ago by A. Lucchese
Beautifully written story. If you like Richard Russo, Pat Conroy, you will enjoy this book.Published 18 months ago by REF
Particularly appealing to those who knew the Catholic Church before Vatican II. Wonderful insight into the nuances of clerical living.Published on May 14, 2014 by G. M. Seely
A cursory account of the aimlessness and ennui of some lives.
No aspect of the story has any of the edges of reality, no psychological or physical texture.
JJ Partridge .Always admired the authjor's wit and vitality of style. Why wasn't this a movie? his new bio doesn't tell us.Published on March 2, 2014 by John Partridge
JF Powers' MORTE D'URBAN, the winner of the National Book Award for 1963, has featured among the favorite books of several other writers and one can see why. Read morePublished on March 2, 2014 by Roger Brunyate
I read it and enjoyed it when it came out in the '60's and liked it even better this time around. At times I was laughing out loud.Published on December 15, 2013 by Patricia J. Busalacchi