Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Home, October 22, 2011
This review is from: Feast Day of Fools: A Novel (Hardcover)
This has all the hallmarks of a James Lee Burke novel: Remorseful and deeply flawed characters whose often violent lives illustrate the thin line between sinner and saint (ala Flannery O'Connor), stunning descriptions of landscape, weather and sunlight, a preachy distrust of government, coarse yet intelligent dialogue, and the ever-present ghosts of wandering souls; it meets his established formula of violent redemption as well as any other he has written, so most fans will like it very much - as I did. What remains missing for me from this work and his others, however, are moments of deeply abundant joy in any of his characters' lives. I have always wanted him to draw not just serious and complex Catholic Christians, whose lives are valuable lessons in spiritual reflection and humility, which he does so well, but include one who experiences, for at least a moment, the overwhelming joy of the Christ in his heart, however transitory this joy might be. Yes, his main characters often demonstrate a deep-seated spiritual satisfaction amidst contemplation over the meaning of their lives, but they never seem to cross the threshold into genuine bliss, always stopping just short of it. Perhaps he does this consciously, and if so, is a statement in itself; or perhaps the moments of ecstasy are there as subtleties I miss. All said, though, the old guy's writing - especially his descriptions of nature - just keeps getting better.
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