Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Have you ever read a novel about a priest? Let me introduce you to Father James Dressler. Vestments is about a priest with spirit who plays baseball, poker, drinks Irish whiskey and has a punching bag in his basement. Most of us only know our religious leaders based on our Sunday observations and assume that like teachers that they have no life. Father Jim Dressler has a life and is not afraid to live it.
James grew up in a Irish-German Catholic family. His dad was a hard hitting, heavy beer drinker and bar frequenter. His parents fought on a regular basis and were constant chain smokers. His grandparents were a positive influence in his life as was the church. By all indications, James path to priesthood was paved with sticks and stones and yet from humble beginnings he rises to the sacredness of priesthood. He becomes his grandfather's pride much to his father's chagrin.
Father Jim is a passionate, lonely man who breaks a vow and faces the consequences. His faith is tested, his vocation in question, when he returns to his beloved city of Saint Paul. One of the main characters in the book is the city of Saint Paul. Saint Paul is a vibrant, decaying backdrop for a city full of sinners and a few saints. Vestments is a book where history clashes with the modern world and leaves the individual alone in the midst of chaos to figure things out for themselves.
Vestments is a powerful, memorable book about faith, life and the struggles to make a place in the world for yourself. Vestments is a unique story about making a difference and will live long after you close the pages of the book. You may want to read this novel about a priest as he will shake up your view of the world as you know it.
Vestments won the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction in 2011.