Up and Down Merton's Mountain

Gerald Groves, Author CBP Press $9.99 (207p) ISBN 978-0-8272-3801-5
An autobiography of a one-time Trappist monk who, in 1948, at the age of 23, entered Gethsemani Abbey, New Haven, Ky., where Thomas Merton was already living, this book reveals an alien world where three fish, a lemon cake, a bottle of Bordeaux and a transistor radio blaring Elvis Presley's Return to Sender on Christmas day is almost decadent in its luxury. Gethsemani ``appealed to me as a kind of training ground for death,'' says Groves, who portrays his life thereafter with the detachment that would come from such appeal. Only when he writes of Merton, ``a major influence on my spiritual formation,'' does the book convey passion. He describes himself, variously, as a ``tepid Catholic,'' as a believer ``absolutely, in God, heaven, and the Catholic Church,'' and as a doubter who often asks himself the question, ``Why in the name of heaven did I come here?'' After two decades, he left the cloister; he now teaches Latin and literary criticism at the University of South Carolina. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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