J.F. Powers

Todays Washington Post has an essay by book critic Jonathan Yardley on J. F. Powers novel, Morte dUrban, first published in 1962, winner of the National Book Award in 1963, and now back in print from, of all places, New York Review Book Classics (along with Powers next novel, Wheat that Spingeth Green, and The Stories of J.F. Powers). Those of a certain age will remember the short stories, many of them about life among the Roman Catholic clergy. Yardley says that this is the fourth time hes read the novel. He still finds it "one of the few genuinely good American novels about business," "a much better novel than Babbitt, subtler, wittier and much more elgantly written." And all this for a novel that revolves around a Catholic priest.

I wonder how many Catholics are aware of Powers work. This review has moved me to re-read things that I first read now almost fifty years ago.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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