In this powerful, moving, and sometimes painful work week -- part memoir, part reportage -- Wall Street Journal reporter Matt Murray explores the reasons his widowed father, a middle-class homeowner and government worker, abandoned his world and moved to a rural monastery to become a monk. He thoughtfully traces his father's life, from his dirt-poor Depression-era childhood and his days as a struggling young writer to his sometimes frustrating role as a husband and parent, to the death of his wife from cancer. Throughout, Matt Murray wrestles with the impact of his father's return to the Church, with his subsequent decision to follow a life of faith, and witch the dramatic reshaping of his family that ensued. As he tracks his father's spiritual journey, he delves into his own beliefs, questioning not only his father's faith but his own and offering, with stark honesty, profound reflections on the complex relationship between father and son.
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Matt Murray received a master's degree in journalism at Northwestern University. He has worked for many news organizations and is currently a staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.From Publishers Weekly:
In his first book, Murray (former Chicago Tribune journalist and current staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal) grapples with his 59-year-old father's decision to enter a Benedictine monastery in central Illinois, a thousand miles and several light-years away from the shape and tenor of his former life as a successful personnel manager in Washington, D.C. More poignantly, the author, who did not have extensive religious grounding in childhood, has difficulty understanding his father's conversion. Murray first explores the dysfunctional nature of his father's family, but the reasons for his father's choices are not wholly there. Next, he analyzes his parents' relationships partly through his father's love letters and the journals left by his mother before she died of cancer. The author describes his bereaved father as a retired, widowed single parent who is trying to reinvent himself, and presents his own adolescent self as embarrassed by his father's crying copious tears during mass. Murray observes, but does not initially comprehend, his father's conversion process. Ultimately, the question of why his father embraced monasticism becomes a question of spirit rather than of sociology or psychology. Some insight comes when the father describes his conversion as a response to God's call and reflects upon the peace he's found in living in the present moment, open to God's gifts and graces. Murray's chronology and accounts of family relationships are awkward to follow in places, but the book seems genuine and without pretense, gently exploring the impact of a father's religious conversion on his family. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060930675
Book Description Harper Perennial, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060930675
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