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Reynolds Price, one of America's most distinguished and honored writers, has produced such masterpieces as Noble Norfleet, Roxanna Slade, and Kate Vaiden, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now in The Good Priest's Son, his fourteenth novel and thirty-sixth book, Price gives us another penetrating study -- full-length portraits of five arresting characters.
On September 11, 2001, Mabry Kincaid -- a fiftyish art conservator -- is flying home after a much-needed rest in Rome and Paris. Halfway across the Atlantic, his plane is diverted from New York to Nova Scotia. Two days later, when the United States has recovered sufficiently from the attack on the World Trade Center, Mabry discovers that his downtown New York loft is uninhabitable. He flies south to North Carolina instead to visit his aged father. A widowed Episcopal priest, Tasker Kincaid has been injured in a recent fall and is cared for by live-in Audrey Thornton, an African-American divinity student at Duke University, and her grown son, Marcus, an ambitious painter. During a week in North Carolina -- with help from his cantankerous father, from Audrey and Marcus and from Gwyn Williams, an old flame -- Mabry is compelled to explore his tormented relationship with his father and with a world that still harbors much that he's loved but has long since abandoned.
On his return to New York -- and in a swift and unexpected return to the south -- Mabry must deal with the near-ruin of his loft, with haunting memories of his infidelities to his recently deceased wife, with the end of his childhood family, the uncertainty of his professional career, the ambivalence of his adult daughter, and with a daunting likelihood that is terrifyingly at work inside his body.
Reynolds Price writes at peak form in this lean and masterful, comic yet profoundly moving novel -- one that unfolds the stages of one man's hope for ransom in old familiar worlds that are now forever changed.