Reverend Thomas Mosher, the young black pastor of the Pilgrims' Congregational Church in W---, Massachusetts, has vanished without a trace. Does the rumored affair between Thomas and Bethany Caruso, unhappily married mother of two, provide an explanation? Did Thomas's esoteric final sermon, "The Shapes of Love" (positing that God is an "infinite sphere"), contain a clue? Did the overwhelmingly white, liberal parishioners drive him away?
Bethany and the rest of the congregants grapple with the ensuing crises. Chief among them: Artemesia Angelis, an unusually pious housewife with a fixation on the Puritan "heretic" Anne Hutchinson; Margaret Howard, matriarch of a thriving real estate business; and Bobby Caruso, Bethany's husband, whose lack of interest in church affairs is matched only by his wife's disdain for Bobby's "fornicatorium," a hapless, last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. "Where do people come from?" Bethany asks at the novel's end. "And where do they go? Who makes this world unbearable?" Benjamin Anastas's bold, blisteringly funny, and ultimately haunting satire of modern materialism marks the emergence of an astonishing talent.
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Indeed, the lives of these and other characters command the narrative, while Thomas, a black man of mixed parentage, too awkward to have excelled in sports, and, for the most part, a mediocre lover, remains an enigma, his melancholy shadow hinted at through the lives of his flock.| Read Full Review of The Faithful Narrative of a P...
One faction of the church council, led by hard-driving realtor Martha Howard, thinks that Thomas's abrupt departure may be traced to an affair with married Bethany Caruso.| Read Full Review of The Faithful Narrative of a P...
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