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La Mort d'Urban (1962)

par J. F. Powers

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576840,617 (3.97)22
Winner of The 1963 National Book Award for Fiction. The hero of J.F. Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban, a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world. Charming, with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for moral ambiguity, Urban enjoys a national reputation as a speaker on the religious circuit and has big plans for the future. But then the provincial head of his dowdy religious order banishes him to a retreat house in the Minnesota hinterlands. Father Urban soon bounces back, carrying God's word with undaunted enthusiasm through the golf courses, fishing lodges, and backyard barbecues of his new turf. Yet even as he triumphs his tribulations mount, and in the end his greatest success proves a setback from which he cannot recover. First published in 1962, Morte D'Urban has been praised by writers as various as Gore Vidal, William Gass, Mary Gordon, and Philip Roth. This beautifully observed, often hilarious tale of a most unlikely Knight of Faith is among the finest achievements of an author whose singular vision assures him a permanent place in American literature.… (plus d'informations)
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» Voir aussi les 22 mentions

Affichage de 1-5 de 8 (suivant | tout afficher)
This is a gentle, slow-moving story of a bon vivant Catholic priest in mid-50s (?) midwest America, and the foibles and flaws of his colleagues in the backwaters of the Order of St Clementine as they try to manage their affairs. The humour is rather dry and indirect, to the point of obscurity at times, and the story drags in places. Some characters seem important for awhile, then disappear without another word. It's uneven and the ending is somehow out of character with the rest and weakly anti-climactic. ( )
  breathslow | Jan 27, 2024 |
It took me a while to get into Powers' short stories, but after I finished the first volume of them I couldn't put them down. So I was primed for this, and it didn't disappoint. In fact, the larger canvas seems to suit him more in some ways. Granted, it suffers a little bit from the same kind of disjointed narrative track that Cheever Wapshot Chronicle suffers from, but to nowhere near the same degree. But that's this novel's only flaw (unless you count 'being about a priest' as a flaw, which I don't, but some might): it's beautifully written, quietly hilarious in an Evelyn Waugh kind of way, and extraordinarily subtle in its depiction of the unbridgeable gap between the best and worst aspects of modern human beings. Powers has an incredible ability to vary the distance between the narrative voice and main character (sometimes they're practically identical, sometimes much fun is had at Urban's expense), and to elicit both ironic scorn & joyful admiration for all of the characters, all in perfectly clear prose. My only complaint (occasional disjointed narrative aside) is that he only wrote two novels. ( )
2 voter stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
I greatly appreciated this book. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 16, 2013 |
This is a fabulous piece of writing on an era that is long gone,good or bad. Certainly, there is a more coherent sense of place and community here than today. Powers placed the life of a somewhat vain and ambitious man in the context of the Catholic hierarchy, with the same striving for power and success that laymen face.If you like Walker Percy or Peter Taylor, I think you will like this. ( )
  DaleCropper | Apr 13, 2011 |
Cradle Catholics will enjoy ( )
  brone | Jan 26, 2011 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 8 (suivant | tout afficher)
Somewhere between a comedy-of-manners and a decidedly low-key if ambiguous tragedy
 

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Nom de l'auteurRôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
J. F. Powersauteur principaltoutes les éditionscalculé
Hardwick, ElizabethIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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Winner of The 1963 National Book Award for Fiction. The hero of J.F. Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban, a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world. Charming, with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for moral ambiguity, Urban enjoys a national reputation as a speaker on the religious circuit and has big plans for the future. But then the provincial head of his dowdy religious order banishes him to a retreat house in the Minnesota hinterlands. Father Urban soon bounces back, carrying God's word with undaunted enthusiasm through the golf courses, fishing lodges, and backyard barbecues of his new turf. Yet even as he triumphs his tribulations mount, and in the end his greatest success proves a setback from which he cannot recover. First published in 1962, Morte D'Urban has been praised by writers as various as Gore Vidal, William Gass, Mary Gordon, and Philip Roth. This beautifully observed, often hilarious tale of a most unlikely Knight of Faith is among the finest achievements of an author whose singular vision assures him a permanent place in American literature.

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NYRB Classics

2 éditions de ce livre ont été publiées par NYRB Classics.

Éditions: 0940322234, 159017660X

 

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