Canticles of an Aging Creole: A Novel
Nearly fifty-nine-years-old, Henry Arbuthnot deeply mourns the death of his French Creole mother, Mathilde. On Good Friday, Henry manages to shower and ready himself for work, even though his mothers overbearing voice haunts him all the while. With his daily cup of coffee for Clancy, he boards and greets the streetcar driver, his old friend and son of the familys maid. Struggling with grief, guilt, and bitterness, Henry rides the streetcar down the streets of New Orleans and the avenues of his life.
He seeks a retrospective on his familys life and questions his relatives and acquaintances for their recollections. Through this reflection he hopes to understand his mothers stubborn obstruction of his desire to join the priesthood.
His mother bludgeons, connives, and steals his faitheven taking a train to Georgetown University to admonish the priest and guidance counselor to keep the church away from her son. All Mathilde wants is for Henry to be a normal boy who plays sports and has girlfriends from proper society. But as his Aunt Eugenie says, Henry is special. In the end, Henry must try to both salvage his faith and make peace with his mothers ghost.
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