Ordinary Time

A. G. Mojtabai, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-385-26416-7
In the ordinary time of her title--in those parts of the liturgical year between the holy seasons--Mojtabai ( Blessed Assurance ) explores the ways faith is tried and practiced by residents of the Texas town of Durance, where a drifter named Val, his memory lost in a car accident, steps off a bus. Val takes a job in Henrietta's Three Square Meals restaurant, across the street from the cemetery. Henrietta, who attends the Rooftree Pentecostal Church, is a widow with a gutsy optimism and a firm, every-day kind of faith. Father Gilvary, whose parishioners at St. Jude's are old and dying, eats breakfast at Henrietta's every morning after Mass. He believes St. Jude's will become a mission when he retires, which may be soon: he has just learned he is going blind. A young man named Cleat, a foundling who has never been quite ``right,'' develops a growing attachment to Val. The secretive Val moves through the dry summer as a kind of absence to whom Henrietta, Fr. Gilvary and Cleat respond, as Mojtabai's simple and precise prose bares the subtle daily adjustments that occur in their inner and public lives. Not much goes on in her story, but life is rendered truthfully and with grace. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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