The Good Priest's Son

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Scribner, 2005 - Fiction - 278 pages
Reynolds Price, one of America's most distinguished and honored writers, has produced such masterpieces as "Noble Norfleet, Roxanna Slade," and "Kate Vaiden," winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now in "The Good Priest's Son," his fourteenth novel and thirty-sixth book, Price gives us another penetrating study -- full-length portraits of five arresting characters.

On September 11, 2001, Mabry Kincaid -- a fiftyish art conservator -- is flying home after a much-needed rest in Rome and Paris. Halfway across the Atlantic, his plane is diverted from New York to Nova Scotia. Two days later, when the United States has recovered sufficiently from the attack on the World Trade Center, Mabry discovers that his downtown New York loft is uninhabitable. He flies south to North Carolina instead to visit his aged father. A widowed Episcopal priest, Tasker Kincaid has been injured in a recent fall and is cared for by live-in Audrey Thornton, an African-American divinity student at Duke University, and her grown son, Marcus, an ambitious painter. During a week in North Carolina -- with help from his cantankerous father, from Audrey and Marcus and from Gwyn Williams, an old flame -- Mabry is compelled to explore his tormented relationship with his father and with a world that still harbors much that he's loved but has long since abandoned.

On his return to New York -- and in a swift and unexpected return to the south -- Mabry must deal with the near-ruin of his loft, with haunting memories of his infidelities to his recently deceased wife, with the end of his childhood family, the uncertainty of his professional career, the ambivalence of his adult daughter, and with a dauntinglikelihood that is terrifyingly at work inside his body.

Reynolds Price writes at peak form in this lean and masterful, comic yet profoundly moving novel -- one that unfolds the stages of one man's hope for ransom in old familiar worlds that are now forever changed.

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User Review  - delphimo - LibraryThing

I realize that many consider Reynolds Price to be a good writer. He has wonderful themes, but his style of writing goes nowhere. I felt I was reading a lifeless textbook. The sentences are long and ... Read full review

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User Review  - taligirl - LibraryThing

Boring. One of a handful of books I didn't finish. Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Reynolds Price (February 1, 1933 - January 20, 2011), born Edward Reynolds Price in Macon, North Carolina, was an American poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University. After graduating from Duke University in 1955, he won a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. Despite being living as a paraplegic after receiving radiation treatment for a spinal tumor since the mid-1980s, he produced approximately one book a year. His first novel, A Long and Happy Life (1962) won the William Faulkner Award. His other works include The Names and Faces of Heroes, Clear Pictures: First Loves, First Guides, A Whole New Life, and The Good Priest's Son. Kate Vaiden won the National Books Critics Circle Award. His plays have been produced on stage and on PBS's American Playhouse. He died due to complications of a heart attack on January 20, 2011 at the age of 77.

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