THE FAITHFUL by Nancy E. Kline


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A very young first novel, inventive in concept, but jagged with headlong theological musings, rushed and hastily sketched in characters and attitudes. A brash American girl, Hildie, and an elderly Reverend Mother of a French convent, carry on an intermittent religious dialogue and evolve a surprising interdependence which drives each to doubts and analysis of the worth of her own existence. A guest of the convent, Hildie, who ""embraces experience"" and would have a bash at discussing the universe in French, soon recognizes and is sobered by the faith of the Reverend Mother, and, in a secular American fashion, is enraged by a devotion with no apparent reward. Yet Hildie is forced to reexamine her revelation that she should live in the world for the deprived nun, who angrily points out that Hildie would then be free to sin while she does penance. In a final tumultuous scene, the Reverend Mother declares her need to bring the girl to the love of God, and Hildie breaks free, in love and grief. Even in an environment in which articulated doubts and faith are permitted, motivations and statements seem too explicit, surface too quickly. Unusual, uneven, unsubtle.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1968
Publisher: Morrow