Magazine article The New Yorker

Briefly Noted

Magazine article The New Yorker

Briefly Noted

Article excerpt

Briefly Noted

Priestdaddy, by Patricia Lockwood (Riverhead). The central character of this vivid, unrelentingly funny memoir is the author's father--a Catholic priest whose first stirrings of faith came, after he was already married, by way of repeated viewings of "The Exorcist" while he was serving in the Navy. Lockwood, a poet, is a "long and fatally lapsed" Catholic, but, she writes, "All my life I have listened to what people will let slip when they think you are part of their we." Her stories of growing up immersed in the pro-life movement and in Church arcana--and, later, of taking her ailing husband to live with her parents in their rectory--are both savage and tender, shot through with surprises and revelations.

Six Encounters with Lincoln, by Elizabeth Brown Pryor (Viking). By focussing on meetings that President Lincoln had with lesser-known figures, such as John Ross, chief of the Cherokee, this history aims at deconstructing Lincoln's mythic reputation as the Great Emancipator to arrive at a more nuanced view. The man who emerges had a short temper and a penchant for bawdy, off-color humor; supported abolition only insofar as it would help expedite the end of the war; and voiced concern for the welfare of Native Americans but turned a blind eye to corruption in his Administration that led to the routine pilfering of tribal lands. Pryor paints a provocative historical portrait while testing common assumptions about an American icon.

Mikhail and Margarita, by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa). …

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