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Dancing Priest Paperback – January 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
When the book starts I got the feeling that things started almost too fast to be honest. The backstory, characters, and events just starting coming at me lightening speed. Then around chapter five I found myself immersed. Young doesn't use a lot of extra and unnecessary "flowery" language. There are no "dark and stormy nights ... the kind of night that is so dark ... so stormy" that just plague good (and many bad) stories. He gets to the point and sucks you right into the characters, their lives, and the events that change them forever.
I didn't get the feeling that I was reading a typical book. It was almost as if I were spying on these people's lives. I was the insider into an amazing array of people and situations that had me at times happy and more often than I'd like to admit in tears. Young is not writing a behemoth novel for page or word count. He is telling a story. A vivid and compelling one at that. After finishing the novel I'm astounded at his skill as a story teller. All of the adjectives and descriptive language in the world mean nothing without a good, solid story and characters you actually care about. In Dancing Priest Young has focused on the story thankfully. He pulled me in and didn't let me go until the very last sentence of the book. And actually I'm still not free of it ... I want more. I need more. I really feel the need to know what happens to these people I've come to know through Young's novel.
This book has left me wanting more ... more story tellers like Young. And more from Young himself. I don't know if I can wait for the sequel ... but guess I will have to.
Michael Kent is charismatic, an Olympic cyclist, and a theology student in Edinburgh. His life keeps turning out for the better and the better, even despite tragedy at the Olympics and other obstacles in his way. He is also good at dancing. Sarah, too, is talented as an artist, and gains recognition for her paintings late in the book.
Of course, I identified strongly with the main character: I was once a young theological student, and I once fell in love. Reading the book recaptured a lost and idealised youth.
The story is set primarily in Edinburgh, Athens and San Francisco. The sense of place was strongest in the descriptions of California and the topography of San Francisco, particularly from a cyclist's view point. All cities, however, are exotic enough to be interesting.
Glynn Young writes about faith in a believable way, sympathetically capturing an evangelical mind-set in thought and action, and capturing well the dynamics of a parish staff.
I had been so disappointed by US `Christian' novels in the past, where `Christian' equates to avoiding swear words and sex, but Dancing Priest is a refreshing change. Here `Christian' equates to thoughtful prayer and care of others.
I had some quibbles with the Anglican aspects of this novel, the worst of which surrounded Michael's ordination at St Paul's cathedral in London. In most dioceses I know, the days before ordination are spent in retreat: playing tourist is a poor preparation for such a major step. (It may be that the Church of England is different precisely because it does gather candidates from all over England, some of whom may not have visited the capital). More jarring was the fact that Michael was not ordained deacon before his priestly ordination. Two-step ordination is fundamental to Anglicanism.
For the most part, however, the picture of a church that was like the real Anglican Communion, but not like it, with splits and tensions like the current ones, but not quite the same, was stimulating and entertaining.
Young's writing has reminded another reviewer of Madeleine l'Engle, and I see the connection. But in the fresh characters, the way the plot invites the reader onwards from page to page, I was more reminded of C.S. Lewis in his Space Trilogy, only with more open emotions.
The story of Michael Kent—student at Edinburgh, Olympic cyclist, then Anglican priest assigned to a San Francisco church—shows, unadorned, his steadfastness, integrity, and seemingly foolish love toward others. All this comes through without hiding or sanitizing his struggles. If you carry an enthusiasm for cycling, you will especially appreciate this book. But, cycling fan or not, you may find that Michael Kent's life in DANCING PRIEST feels a bit like a cycling race: fast pace, determination, struggle, exhilaration, team dynamics, defeat, victory, gratification at crossing the finish line. This story challenged me to persevere in pain, love those who are against me, extend a hand to others in distress, practice art and exercise any God-given abilities, and deepen relationships with those I love. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, A LIGHT SHINING.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
HighYou have moved me very deeply with this beautiful story of faith and compassion. Half way through I called my daughter and told her to order it immediately.Read more