Wednesday, 25 January 2012

One to Watch Wednesday

Many authors tackle the subject of the church: whether their approach be positive, negative, cycnical, comical, devout; whether their novel be literary, satire, thriller, comedy, non-fiction ... in fact, it's probably one of the few subjects that can be and has been tackled so diversely. This week's one to watch is a timeless and quaint approach to a huge topic: 
The Holy Innocents by Fr. Ambrose de Montford Smith
 
THE HOLY INNOCENTS is the story of a disillusioned priest in the wake of his sister Agatha’s death. Even in retrospect, Agatha is a great character. Witty and cynical – the type of person to request the diocesan newspaper be printed on more absorbent paper, being that it is fit only for cleaning up after ill-trained house pets – She is an irresistible figure, and her death makes Ambrose immediately sympathetic. Set against the shrewd portrait of his sister, Ambrose’s naivity also makes him endearing and comic, as well as outlining from the very start that this is not a story to be taken too seriously.  
I’d argue that the first chapter goes past rather quickly – one second Ambrose is being mugged, 2 paragraphs later, he’s offering his spare room to a homeless stranger – but the general tone is great, and the premise of an oddball, parish-less Priest, continuing his duties living out of a ford fiesta, is too irresistible not to dip in.
It's a book that's been on authonomy for almost 7 months; so if you've not read it yet, now's your chance.

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Here's Ambrose's Pitch

Defying a modern Church that has a larger collection of invertebrates than the London Zoo, a mad, brave priest reaches out to the world.
 
When eccentric Fr. Ambrose is forced out of his parish by the bishop, he continues his ministry as an itinerant in his old Ford Fiesta. He may have lost his marbles, but he hasn’t lost his faith, and he’s determined to save his oddball flock.

There’s Dave the Sacristan, a foul-mouthed muscle man with a tendency to nick potted plants from offices and shops. There’s the young Nigerian woman Rachel, an unwed mother shunned by her family and lumbered with a failing business. There’s transgendered lorry driver Bill, unsure of his calling, and Maggie the whore, his girlfriend. Can God do anything with these people?

Fr. Ambrose believes God can and will. But he’s nuts, right?
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6 comments:

Sandie said...

Oh, I'm glad you've come across this one. I love it - there's a lot to enjoy with the humour and some acute observations too.

And Father Ambrose himself is a delight - both in the book and out of it!

It might have been on site for the seven months you mention but he did take time out to do a serious edit, so anyone who read it way back should maybe take another look at this much improved version.

Anonymous said...

This is really funny in places! Would make a great TV series too :)

Plain Ice!!! said...

Odd that this great book is getting so little comment here. Perhaps, because I like it, no one else is allowed to?

Father Ambrose de Montford Smith said...

Thanks, everybody, for your interest and comments!
Fr. A.

Floxy said...

A great book by an intriguing author. He has picked a great foil for his sharp wit.

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