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The Priest

A Gothic Romance


Thomas M. Disch (View Bio)
Hardcover: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

"A novel of considerable originality and brilliance. . . . I was particularly impressed by his willingness to enlist Gothic techniques in the service of serious artistic aims. Even in an age of rationalism run rampant, Gothicism remains a useful arrow in the novelist’s quiver . . . and Mr. Disch’s animating conceit is an extraordinarily clever and fertile one, which he deploys with great panache." — Terry Teachout, The New York Times Book Review

"A great yarn, full of strident life." — Patrick McGrath, Newsday

"A merciless satire on what Disch clearly perceives as the institutional hypocrisies of the Catholic Church, though nowhere does the novel mock the faith. . . . By turns, creepy and darkly funny." — Tom De Haven, Entertainment Weekly

"Clever and fast–moving. . . . It is an inventive, angry, and darkly humorous book." — Lisa Tuttle, Washington Post

"A wild, exotic mix of Lewis’s The Monk, Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Puzo’s The Godfather, The Priest is not only extraordinarily funny, but almost joyously blasphemous. Designed as tightly as the best sort of thriller, it keeps you on your toes, but never allows you to stop thinking for a moment." — Scott Bradfield, The Indepedent (U.K.)

"If the Roman Catholic Church still issued its Index of banned books, this one would certainly find its way onto it. It is a wickedly funny, often scathing attack on an institution seen as too often more concerned about avoiding scandal than truly serving the needs of its constituents. Father Patrick Bryce is a pedophile unable, even after a stint at the famous Arizona ‘treatment’ facility, to control his urges—a fact that draws him inexorably into a world defined chiefly by physical and psychological torment…. As this black and biting fantasy careens toward its macabre denouement, it gives one pause to think." — Library Journal

"The title character is a present-day Minnesota parish priest. Father Patrick Bryce is being blackmailed into ever more antisocial behavior by someone familiar with his pedophiliac past. . . . Disch weaves murders, bizarre anti-abortion conspiracies, the Shroud of Turin, and the Inquisition into a tight fabric of preternatural horror and blackest comedy. . . . Disch’s jaunty, almost casual approach to it all only points up the horror of his subject matter. Disch has been honing his powerful voice for a long time; . . . he is becoming deservedly more widely known for his tales of evil amidst the mundane." — Booklist

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