In this modern-day allegory, Trott (Divorcing Daddy, 1992, etc.) infuses the popular notion of the wise man on the mountain...

READ REVIEW

THE HOLY MAN

In this modern-day allegory, Trott (Divorcing Daddy, 1992, etc.) infuses the popular notion of the wise man on the mountain with a keen intelligence and a surprisingly wry humor. Joe runs a hermitage (not a hermitage in the strictest sense, since fellow monks keep him company) atop a mountain in an unnamed country. During the summer months, thousands of hopefuls line the single-file path leading to his door for a chance to bend his ear. Each day during visiting hours, a small, nondescript man opens the door to the next pilgrim in line, asking, ""Yes?"" Invariably, the pilgrim, anxious after such a long wait, replies with a hasty ""I have come to see the holy man."" The man then asks the pilgrim to follow him and takes off at breakneck speed through the house until he reaches a door -- a door that turns out to be the exit leading to the single-file path down the other side of the mountain. When the visitor whines, ""But I have come to see the holy man,"" the monk replies, ""You have seen me."" Most times, he adds, ""If you look on every one you meet as a holy person, you will be happy."" Eventually, the initially stunned pilgrims find the jewel in the monk's words: If everyone deserves to be treated as holy, then they are holy in some way too. If this rings cheesy, it is...and it isn't. Because Trott surrounds the clich‚d nuggets of wisdom with sharp wit (the story of the famous man who, in his attempt to bypass the line by stealing the robes of a monk in town for supplies, winds up beating up the holy man himself) and weighty experiences (the drunkard who, while waiting in line for advice, makes the nine-mile journey back into town for more booze so often that he becomes fit enough, physically and mentally, to give up alcohol). Endlessly entertaining and gently profound.

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 1573225320

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Riverhead/Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1995