POWERS AND DOMINATIONS by Robert Early

POWERS AND DOMINATIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What goes on (and what doesn't?) at Boldface Abbey in the heart of Bible-Belt Georgia, is straight out of pre-Reformation Europe: fornication, masturbation, insubordination or just indolence. Although the monks succeed in deposing former Abbot Wilfrid Coogan, his successor, Giles Logan, is no better: posting regulations no one observes; reviled or ignored at monastic meetings. His dreams of a new monastery (ultimately achieved through the bequest of an aging eccentric once the mistress of the abbey's founder) seem wishful, while his criticisms of alcoholic Father Brendan's enduring liaison with the abbey's college librarian are considered hypocritical, since it is generally assumed he is sodomizing a former student. The younger generation, if one goes by onanistic Owen Cline, is no better. . . . This is the stuff of black comedy yet author Robert Early lets plot (a series of deaths and suicides) fall where it win and concentrates on the inner lives of his characters. Their loneliness is enough to drive them to the monastic life but it fails to keep them there. A Freely structured, odd amalgam of farce and more serious intent by a former Benedictine monk, the author of The Jealous Ear (1973).

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1974
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin