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Acadiana Lifestyle

Books: Writing Conflicts

07/07/2015 08:00AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

By Ray Saadi—Book Editor

MERTON & WAUGH By Mary Frances Coady, Paraclete Press $22.00 

Thomas Merton was in his first year in the monastery when his publisher sent a manuscript of his autobiography, “The Seven Storey Mountain” to Evelyn Waugh hoping for an endorsement. Waugh, newly famous in America for his novel “Brideshead Revisited,” answered promptly with glowing praise. The two began a spirited and absorbing correspondence, 20 of those letters are included here. They also had in common having spent dissolute lives, Merton spending a “year of debauchery that ended in what seems to have been a paternity suit, which without the help of his father’s wealthy friend” might have blocked his priestly vocation. Waugh became Thomas’ literary mentor and Merton, in turn, became Waugh’s spiritual advisor. Their writings, “long after their deaths, are still explored and loved.”

CONTRITION By Maura Weiler, Atria Books $16.00

Twin girls separated at birth reconnect by strange twists of fate and faith. Dorie McKenna, a reporter for a small tabloid paper and an adoptee, learns when her biological father dies that he was a famous painter and that she has a twin sister, Catherine, who inherited his talent. Dorie, anxious to meet her sister is shocked to find she is a cloistered nun with a vow of silence who refuses to meet her or to display or discuss her paintings. Dorie is not so easily deterred and poses as an aspiring nun in Catherine’s convent to get and publish the story of her sister’s talent.  The two eventually share their biological past, but clash over the purpose of art. Catherine’s continued refusal to go public with her paintings and Dorie’s determination to publish her story make for a conflict that is finally resolved in the surprising conclusion.

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