Date Published: May 31, 2000 (Originally published in 1962)
Number of Pages: 336
Print Price: $11.76
eBook Price: $9.32
Reviewed by Flannery O'Connor, November 27, 1963
Mr. Powers' novel, long awaited, has arrived and it is a fine novel, altogether better than the chapters published separately in the New Yorker, the Critic, and Esquire had led to expect. These chapters were marked by a certain sameness that brooded no good for the future book, but the whole proves to be greater than the sum of its parts and moves forward without tedium to a profound conclusion.
The hero, Father Urban, is a go-getting priest in a non-go-getting order. His mission is to be the "better-type" soul and, against fearful odds, he manages to promote the construction of a golf course at his order's retreat house; but Father Urban's soul is worth saving and Mr. Powers proceeds to save it, even if ultimately at the expense of the golf course and the order's material gain.
In some circles this novel will be read as if it were an essay entitled "The Priest in America." Some reviewers will point out that Father Urban is not typical of the American priest; some will imply that he is. This reviewer would like to point out that Mr. Powers is a novelist, more over the best one we have, and that Father Urban represents Father Urban. If you must look for anyone in him, Reader, look for yourself.
From The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews by Flannery O'Connor
Original Language: English
Book Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
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