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
Particularly appealing to those who knew the Catholic Church before Vatican II. Wonderful insight into the nuances of clerical living.Published 5 months ago 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 7 months ago 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 7 months ago 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 10 months ago by Patricia J. Busalacchi
I read this in paperback about twenty years ago, and found it funny and moving. Then I forgot (!) who the author and what the title was, and had no idea how to "find" it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by belqis
Powers is a wordsmith of the first order. His characters are utterly believable and never subordinated by the plot. This is a story that dignifies humanness.Published 11 months ago by Susan Schocket
Obviously Mr. Powers sat at more than a few tables filled with diocesan and religious priest telling war stories. The major themes of parish and religious life are all here. Read morePublished 12 months ago by J. Arnold
For me, this was one of those rare discoveries: a title that's been around for decades by an author I'd long heard of but never sampled, featuring delightful characters, both... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Carol DeChant