This is neither a book review nor an analysis. This is a strictly a plug for a fun book written by a frequent visitor to this blog.
While I was traveling last week and in my personal time while not working, I grew a little tired from Dante’s Paradisio and flipped through my Kindle and came to a recent purchase of a lighter read. One gets mentally exhausted traveling, going through tedious engineering meetings, and reading complicated literature. A mental break was in order for something less stressing and recreative.
There on my Kindle was Victor Moubarak’s book. You may know Victor (the Victor I call Victor M. since there is another frequent visitor also named Victor) from his comments here or from his own blog, Time For Reflections. It’s a fun blog and I stop there frequently myself. On Victor’s blog he occasionally tells tales of a certain Father Ignatius. He also has a short story collection pertaining to Fr. Ignatius’s activities and adventures, The Adventures of Father Ignatius, which I also own. Between the short stories and the blog posts, I had come to the conclusion early on that Victor was an actual priest and that he was writing from experience because he writes so convincingly. Well, I found out he isn’t; he’s married with children. But he has an incredible insight into priestly life and experience (I don’t know how).
He recently wrote a full novel, The Priest and the Prostitute, with the Fr. Ignatius character, and when it came to my attention I quickly bought it off Amazon as a Kindle ebook. So I read it this past week to get a mental break and I couldn’t put it down. What a fun book, though the situation for Fr. Ignatius isn’t so fun since he’s accused of murdering a prostitute. Here’s a short section, from the beginning of Chapter 4.
Three months on and Father Igantius had truly settled at St. Vincent. His original apprehension that returning was perhaps an unwise move had all but faded away. It’s surprising how quickly one settles back to an old routine when feeling comfortable and at peace with oneself.
He celebrated Mass each morning at eight, visited the homeless shelter twice a week, spent most afternoons dealing with paperwork or visiting the sick at the hospital or at home, or going one or two parishioners temporarily in jail. And every Friday evening he sat by the log fire in the large room listening to Verdi in company with Sister Martha who too had fallen back into the old routine of calling on him on her way to the convent.
One fresh late-August evening Father Ignatius arrived at St. Vincent at about nine o’clock just as it was getting a little darker. He got out of the car and was on his way towards Parish House when he was approached by a blonde woman in her late thirties who’d just walked out of the church and made her towards him. He was surprised that the church was still open at this hour and he made a mental note to lock up before he got into the house.
“Hello Father Ignatius,” said the woman as she stopped some four feet away.
It was a moment when one’s brain works at a million miles an hour trying to work out a situation and getting nowhere. Her voice sounded so familiar. So did her face. Father Ignatius tried hard to remember who she was and where he had met her before but it seemed his “little grey cells” had let him down.
“Don’t you remember me Father?” she said eventually, “I’m Joanna!”
“Oh yes, hello!” he heard himself mutter.
Joanna was an occasional visitor to the church on Sundays many years ago. She was politely known as a lady of the night, and made no secret of the fact. Many surmised that most gentlemen of the parish had at one time or another been entertained by Joanna. Indeed she had confessed her sin many a time to Father Ignatius although she never named names.
“Just hello,” she said, “No hug?”
“I remember what happened the last time Judas hugges someone,” said Father Igantius and regretted saying it almost immediately.
I’m going to stop there, because that’s a really good hook. Isn’t that enticing? The characters are idiosyncratically charming, and you really feel for Fr. Ignatius’ predicament. Set in a North England town, presumably one where Victor lives, and though I’ve never traveled there it felt very immediate. He captures it well I think.
Victor who apparently has skills in various media has put together a little video to advertise the book.
You can get it at Amazon, and the Kindle version is only $4 at the American site. It’s worth it. It’s not high literature like I normally read, but I really enjoyed it.