BY J.F. Powers : Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics – Ebook

Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics

J.F. Powers ¸ 0 CHARACTERS CHARACTERS æ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ¸ J.F. Powers FREE DOWNLOAD Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics Ack from which he cannot recoverFirst published in 1962 Morte D'Urban has been praised by writers as various as Gore Vidal William Gass Mary Gordon and Philip Roth This beautifully observed often hilarious tale of a most unlikely Knight of Faith is among the finest achievements of an author whose singular vision assures him a permanent place in American literature Morte d Urban is a Catholic novel by a Catholic author but it s also a singularly American novel It s about going to work Think inept colleagues vindictive superiors fruitless and boring busywork Our protagonist Father Urban successful charming handsome is a traveling salesman out of Chicago for the fictional Order of St Clement He enjoys a cigar and stiff drink sports cars the right sort of people golf Critics often compare him to Babbitt but that s not right he s a dynamic solicitous priest He simply wants his failing order to recover from centuries of poor management The Clementines 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 uniue in that they were noted for nothing at all They were in bad shape all over the worldFather Urban is one of few men in the Order capable of turning things around So of course his boss views him as a rival and ships him off to a would be retreat house in nowhersesville Minnesota Enter the bumbling crew of the house led by clueless Father Wilf This first part of the book is funny like laugh out loud Wooster and Jeeves levels of hilarity The tone subtly and gradually shifts until by the end Urban s greatest triumph precipitates his most regrettable loss himself NYRB should be commended for republishing Powers always a critical and literary darling but one who struggled to find readers It s a shame because he managed to capture not just a clerical idiom but a uniuely American one

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J.F. Powers ¸ 0 CHARACTERS CHARACTERS æ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ¸ J.F. Powers FREE DOWNLOAD Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics Winner of The 1963 National Book Award for FictionThe hero of JF Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world Charming with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for moral ambiguity Urban enjoys a national reputation as a speaker on the religious circuit and has big plans for the future But t If you were brought up Catholic like me 1 you know that even though you may turn your back on all of it when you finally come to your senses a lot of it stays with you And I m not talking about the beliefs Those are pure Medievalism easily dismissible What I m talking about is the basic underlying structure of ritualized guilt and repression You know the fun stuff But no matter how much I try to scrub my psyche clean to expunge the last stubborn residue of Catholicism I will always to some extent identify myself as Catholic I ll be honest here Protestantism is mostly disturbing to me It s too prosaic rustic folksy Its churches often resemble either barns or airports The militancy of its ahem passionate adherents ie religious nuts puts most Catholics often content with passivity and indifference in the pale I appreciate the general passionlessness of most Catholics In my experience many Catholics understand that religion is just a habit a custom something that you do until you don t do it any They are mostly uninterested in shouting out praise to Jesus Christ or embarking upon an undignified religious rapture like some of their Christian peers It s funny that the very things that many Protestant sects rebelled against in Catholicism are the very key to its limited appeal for me the gothic icons the melancholia the cannabilism and the veneration of the Virgin Mary just to name a few Let s face it Jesus Christ could be either an airy hippie or a lousy humbug at times and the Virgin Mary is much endearing I d rather talk to her in my prayers any day and as a child I certainly did She was the indulgent mother counterposed with the dyspeptic authoritarian God the Father We were a 1950s nuclear family God Mary and me and you can be sure that it was Mary mild nurturing Mary stepping on that fucking serpent to whom I appealed when I was in troubleNow to the point of these ramblings Morte D Urban is a book I think I should have loved and for a while I did but it was too Catholic even for me And I don t mean that it shoves Catholic doctrine down your throat or anything not at all I mean that it is so riddled with the bureaucratic trappings of Catholicism that it occasionally left me bored or even confused 2 Now I realize the novel s intention was in fact to illuminate the ways in which the Catholic Church resembles an often inefficient private corporation mirroring its personal and departmental rivalries thorny hierarchies and employee apathy But sometimes I think JF Powers went overboard A great author does not have to be dull to illustrate dullness Powers shows he is up to the task at times as when the protagonist Father Urban a liberal charismatic and motivated priest of the Clementine order is shuffled off to a rural Minnesota outpost no doubt a political maneuver by the Father Provincial who fears Father Urban s popularity Urban s exchanges with Father Wilfrid a puttering doofus who runs the Minnesota retreat are comedy gold Wilfrid is seemingly only concerned with the maintenance and refurbishment of the retreat house and as such he enlists Urban in many idiotic do it yourself projects Wilfrid is also preposterously cheap reluctant even to heat much of the building during the frigid Minnesota winters I loved the time the novel spent insightfully and comically observing these characters at the retreat houseAt other times I didn t love Morte D Urban so much I would say there s about a hundred page stretch in this 340 page book that just kind of drags concerned as it is on expounding upon the tricky relationships at a nearby parish called St Monica s and upon Urban s plan to found a golf course adjacent to the retreat center Powers has a dry obliue way with his humor that occasionally becomes grating The narration is third person but it clearly describes Urban s attitudes and impressions resulting in a portrait of a slightly arrogant and condescending man All in all Urban s not entirely appealing He s human sure but I don t know that he s the best counterposition to the bureaucratic inefficiency and complacency of the Catholic Church I don t take exception to Urban s self satisfaction as much as I bristle at his psychological dullness Sure next to Father Wilfrid and his ilk Urban appears lively and colorful but transposed to St Monica s and the golf course he s just another guy A golfing priest a Catholic salesman So what1 When I say brought up Catholic I mean that I went to Catholic grade school Catholic high school and a few years of Catholic college I do not mean that I came from a religious family however My parents were indifferent Catholics We rarely went to Church and God and religion were never discussed around the house2 I m not really sure of the distinctions if there are any between a monsigneur a rector and a priest Nor do I fully grasp the subtle rivalries between the religious orders Powers approaches the Catholic bureaucracy as if his audience fully understands its intricacies Even as a Catholic I did not

J.F. Powers ¸ 0 CHARACTERS

J.F. Powers ¸ 0 CHARACTERS CHARACTERS æ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ¸ J.F. Powers FREE DOWNLOAD Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics Hen the provincial head of his dowdy religious order banishes him to a retreat house in the Minnesota hinterlands Father Urban soon bounces back carrying God's word with undaunted enthusiasm through the golf courses fishing lodges and backyard barbecues of his new turf Yet even as he triumphs his tribulations mount and in the end his greatest success proves a setb If you want to take this novel literally and say it is a book about the adventures of an ambitious priest not unlike a Catholic Elmer Gantry of sorts who was exiled to the middle of nowhere be my guest but it doesn t take long before you realize there is something else going on here and it begins to dawn on you that is all sounds remotely like your jobCongratulations my friend you ve reached the AHA momentIt s a difficult book to find I think it s out of print but your library may have a copy but if you feel a little frustrated about your current job it s worth picking up You ll even get a good laugh or two out of it

  • Paperback
  • 336
  • Morte D'Urban New York Review Books Classics
  • J.F. Powers
  • English
  • 10 July 2018
  • 9780940322233