In Due Season: A Catholic Life

In Due Season: A Catholic Life

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by Paul Wilkes
     
 

In Due Season

Paul Wilkes wanted to be like social justice advocate Dorothy Day, and spend his life with the poor. He wanted to be like Thomas Merton, and spend his life behind monastery walls in prayer. He failed on both accounts. He only became himself.

One of America's most respected writers on religious belief and spirituality, Paul Wilkes's search for

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Overview

In Due Season

Paul Wilkes wanted to be like social justice advocate Dorothy Day, and spend his life with the poor. He wanted to be like Thomas Merton, and spend his life behind monastery walls in prayer. He failed on both accounts. He only became himself.

One of America's most respected writers on religious belief and spirituality, Paul Wilkes's search for God begins in a poor, working class family in Cleveland and winds through lonely nights in a factory, working his way through college; a surprising confrontation during the Cuban Missile Crisis; a torrid romance on the Indian Ocean; acceptance into an Ivy League school; and into the "perfect" marriage, which would fail.

A man who seemingly had everything, one day he took scripture literally and gave up everything he owned to live with the poor. But then, in a dizzying turnabout, he became a person he eventually could no longer recognize in the mirror. He spent his summers in the Hamptons and lived the life of the man about town—single, facile, popular, hollow. He knew Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Kurt Vonnegut, but not himself. He sat at the feet of the Dalai Lama. He was an avowed hedonist. He lived as a hermit at a Trappist monastery. He found true love and ran from it. He was a true son of the Church and a sinner beyond anything he might have imagined.

Paul Wilkes' life is one of abysmal failure and ultimate triumph, with a faith in God battered and tried in the crucible of his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In an exquisite memoir that often reads like a novel, writer Wilkes (In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest) recounts and reflects upon his life as a Catholic. Although his journey includes a decade as a Protestant and ongoing discomfort with certain aspects of Catholicism, Wilkes deftly mines its imagery and its figures, particularly the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, a major and recurring influence. As Wilkes meanders through a life that begins in a working-class Cleveland neighborhood, he candidly relates his passages of sin and saintliness, including a conversion-in-reverse when he gains fame as a writer and an interlude following the end of his first marriage in which he lives among the poor, caring for society's castoffs. Readers will experience his confusion, the "decaying smell of [his] dying soul" and his triumphs as they wonder if the "it" he seeks will find him and whether he will marry again or become a monk. This is fine, engrossing reading for all who appreciate the struggle inherent in the spiritual quest. (Mar.)

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Library Journal

Longtime freelance writer and reporter Wilkes may be best known for his 1976 PBS documentary Six American Families and books on the contemporary American Catholic church (e.g., Excellent Catholic Parishes). Here, he describes his traditional Catholic upbringing in Cleveland and departure from it, naval-officer service, study at Columbia's journalism school, a failed marriage to a Methodist missionary, and his attempts to find spiritual meaning through community service in Brooklyn, NY. He became conflicted about his lifestyle when writing success led him to contact with celebrities and drinking and drugs. His accounts of attempting to find balance through periodic stays in monasteries reflect a changing American society. Wilkes eventually found joy and stability as a husband and father in a second marriage. He details how he finds fulfillment in hospital lay ministry and selective church teachings, and he analyzes himself spiritually with frequent dramatic verboseness. Recommended for religion collections to represent current lay perceptions on seeking the divine.
—Anna M. Donnelly

From the Publisher
STARRED REVIEW

In an exquisite memoir that often reads like a novel, writer Wilkes (In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest) recounts and reflects upon his life as a Catholic. Although his journey includes a decade as a Protestant and ongoing discomfort with certain aspects of Catholicism, Wilkes deftly mines its imagery and its figures, particularly the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, a major and recurring influence. As Wilkes meanders through a life that begins in a working-class Cleveland neighborhood, he candidly relates his passages of sin and saintliness, including a conversion-in-reverse when he gains fame as a writer and an interlude following the end of his first marriage in which he lives among the poor, caring for society's castoffs. Readers will experience his confusion, the "decaying smell of [his] dying soul" and his triumphs as they wonder if the "it" he seeks will find him and whether he will marry again or become a monk. This is fine, engrossing reading for all who appreciate the struggle inherent in the spiritual quest. (Publishers Weekly, January 2009)

"Paul Wilkes has written the first 21st-century Christian classic. His In Due Season: A Catholic Life will rank alongside, not run second to, Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain. It is its companion volume.—The bridge between ideals that Wilkes builds with this book carries the American Catholic story from the ghetto, through war, through Vatican II, through the hedonistic 1970s, through a changing church, through the ravages of affluence and easy money, to the questioning of today.—In Due Season ranks alongside Merton's best because Wilkes absorbed Merton, then moved forward with him, and ultimately beyond him."
—National Catholic Reporter, reviewed by Arthur Jones, published March 6, 2009.

"Paul Wilkes has written an honest and revealing memoir in which nothing is held back....In Due Season excels on many levels. Wilkes is a felicitous writer who can be read for the simple pleasure of connecting with a prose artist."
The Boston Globe (June 2009)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470443781
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
03/03/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

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