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Vestments
John Reimringer
Adult Fiction REIMRIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this potent debut about a wayward yet devout young priest who struggles to reconcile his faith with longings of the flesh, Reimringer has crafted a suspenseful, illuminating, and highly readable saga. James Dressler, a Catholic working-class kid from St. Paul, Minn., with a barroom brawler father and a "piece of work" mother, sees the Catholic Church as both his salvation and his moral compass. Following his ordination, James gets assigned to Saint Hieronymus Church in Pretty Prairie, Minn., alongside his friend and cynical, skirt-chasing fellow priest, Mick. James joins a poker group run by fellow priests, and the internecine conflicts and accommodations within the clergy are artfully depicted, as are James's efforts to square his earthly cravings with his priestly station-he's basically a regular guy who loves sports and drinking, and yearns for female companionship. Soon enough, James ends up in trouble and goes back to St. Paul, where an old flame awaits. Reimringer excels, most notably, at revealing how the sensual delectations of Catholic ritual and the forbidden delights of the flesh are part of the same continuum, as sin and repentance feed off each other. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This intensely personal debut novel about a priest's fall from grace details the confusing life of an idealistic young man who belongs to a violent, hard-drinking, working-class family. Set in St. Paul, it tells the story of young James Dressler, exploring the experiences that lead him to the priesthood. The plot artfully unveils James's life through a series of flashbacks; James's reverently irreverent, violent, and alcoholic father provides a gripping emotional context, and the descriptions of the geography and history of St. Paul add a useful backdrop. Particularly satisfying are the descriptions of parish priests and how they bond together to support one another in their isolation. As Reimringer describes James's struggles, it seems a far-fetched notion that the young priest will not succumb to his urges, but he comes across as a genuine human being. Verdict Holden Caulfield meets Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds with some Bukowski on the side, this is a compelling tale that provides a little-seen, interior, first-person point of view of the priesthood. For all readers interested in inner conflict.-Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters James Dressler
Male
Catholic
Saw the Catholic Church as his salvation and his escape from his family life; assigned to Saint Hieronymous Church after his ordination; joined a poker group run by fellow priests; loves sports and drinking; misses female companionship; still in love with his first love; struggling with the temptations of man and his devotion to the church; must choose which path he will follow.
Priest



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