Troubador The Good Priest

Released: 28/03/2019

ISBN: 9781789016925

Format: Paperback

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The Good Priest

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Father John is the parish priest of Our Lady of Sorrows in Westonville, but when the ordered tranquillity of his life is shattered by a stranger walking into the confessional on Ash Wednesday, he finds himself on a Lenten journey of increasing dread and horror. And when he is confronted with memories of his historic abuse, John discovers that what he thought to be forgiven and forgotten still lurks deep in his memory. A pattern of murders unveils terrifying associations between the stranger’s appearances, John’s own past, and the murders. Could the stranger be the cardinal who abused him during his time in Rome, and who is rumoured to have died in the 9/11 attacks? Is he a ghost emanating from the same world as Sarah, the ghost of a little girl whose benign appearances are a protective presence in John’s life? Or is the man in the confessional not really dead? Through the increasing traumas of Lent, John struggles with the temptations and fears that begin to assail him wherever he turns. The Good Priest is a story of faith and doubt, of real and imagined hauntings, of the epic dramas that lurk beneath the surface of an ordinary Catholic parish, and of the devastating power of violence and terror to rip apart relationships, friendships and loyalties. At once a thriller and a theological exploration, the book takes the reader into a world of altered realities where nothing is quite what it seems...

REVIEWS OF PREVIOUS BOOKS:

Redeeming Mary: Insights from the Gospels (Burns & Oates, 1995):

'The Mary of whom Tina Beattie writes is intelligent, courageous and uncompromising, while remaining straightforward and unassuming, and I can think of no better way to describe her book. I was greatly in need of this book. I am sure there will be many others whose need is less, but who will still be inspired and moved by its lightness of touch and depth of meaning.' (Eibhlin Inglesby, review in Theology and Sexuality

'Recommended reading for everybody looking for understanding of the mystery.' (Amazon customer review)

The Last Supper According to Martha and Mary (Burns & Oates/Continuum, 2001):

'The contemporary novel allows writers the freedom to use psychological ideas and probabilities to thicken the plot, deepen the emotional authenticity, and engage the reader at other levels than the cerebral. This is Beattie's forte; she manages to bring alive a social dynamic for a large group of individuals, and to create subtle and intriguing balances, relationships and reactions - which genuinely do add a drive and plausibility to the outline plot that we all think we know. ... [T]his is a lovely book ... It is both bold and beautiful. And the last two pages are completely wonderful - theology and poetry and humanity met together.' (Sara Maitland, review in Theology and Sexuality)

God's Mother, Eve's Advocate (Continuum, 2002):

'Tina Beattie has written a stunning book on the 'theology of woman' ... It is hard to summarize the riches of this dense, rich, fruitcake of a book. (Janet Soskice, review in Theology and Sexuality)

The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War on Religion (Darton, Longman & Todd, 2007):

'Beattie's passionate survey of this complex scene entails a constant plea for mutual understanding and for an end to cheap point-scoring. She is a good guide and well worth reading.' (John Habgood, Times Literary Supplement)

'[This is] a smart, thoughtful and needed book that gets to the core of why the new atheists are not only self-deluded but ultimately dangerous.' (Chris Hedges, The Tablet)

'This is an excellent contribution to the debate over atheism. Tina Beattie brilliantly exposes the rhetorical bluffing of authors like Dawkins and Hitchens, highlighting their confused thinking, inaccurate manipulations of religious traditions and frequent self-contradiction. She is also refreshingly humble in her claims, not trying to prove God's existence - something that, in a sense, would undermine the very basis of religion, which is faith. She offers instead a God worth believing in, a God transcendent yet immediate and engaged with human beings. Her book is a gentle and generous counterblast to the rather ponderous and "not great" delusions that have caught the imaginations of certain bourgeois publics.' (Anthony Egan, The Heythrop Journal)

'Tina Beattie is a fresh and exhilarating new voice in the current debate on religion who challenges atheist and believer alike.' (Peter Stanford)

'Tina Beattie has a breadth of scholarship and reading that takes the breath away, and has a deep understanding of what is happening. A wonderful read. ' (Amazon customer review)

New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory (Routledge, 2006):

[A] book that is spectacularly interesting, though not an easy read. Expect to grapple with Thomas Aquinas and Hans Urs von Balthasar, as well as Julia Kristeva, Charlene Spretnak, and Sarah Boss.' (Review in The Church Times)

She is my kind of woman, complete with red patent leather heels to present a kick-arse paper on Aquinas! ... I've taken months to digest this book, so a blog post is hardly going to do it justice: it would make a great core text for a masters unit on feminist theology! ... Beattie argues that '[w]hen psycholinguistics and neo-orthodox theology are brought into intimate dialogue with one another, the confusion which surrounds the place of the female body in Catholic symbolism and sacramentality begins to burn with a dark intensity. This illuminates an unexplored space - virgin territory perhaps - which is at one and the same time charged with the most profound and threatening irrationality, but also with a sacramental and sexual potency that might yet bring about the transformation of the Catholic vision.' (Chelle Trebilcock, reddresstheology blog)

Theology after Postmodernity: Divining the Void - a Lacanian Reading of Thomas Aquinas (Oxford University Press, 2013):

Tina Beattie is to be commended for this impressive work of serious scholarship which rereads Aquinas in the light of Lacanian theory. Other authors have already shown the influence of Thomas on Lacan but what is distinctive about this book is its seeking to bring Lacan and Aquinas into creative dialogue. ... This very well written book does not set out to explain and rationalize, but to tentatively reopen the theological imagination to mysteries beyond its ken. It is an impressive rereading of Thomas for our time, one that courageously takes the deliberately obtuse and at times inaccessible Lacan as its guide. ... Beattie is clearly on to something when she finds the later Lacan's shift from the symbolic to the real a rich resource for a renewed theology beyond our traditional language for God, a theology which is not rational only, but resonates with our deepest desires.' (Thomas Dalzell, Irish Theological Quarterly)

'On the basis of a gendered cosmology coming from Aristotle, but at key points influenced by Plato and Neoplatonists, Thomas strengthened an understanding of law, politics and Church order which at worst excluded women (from the universities, e.g.) or at best included them in a purely passive and receptive capacity (in the Church, in medieval romance, in romanticism). For Beattie, the seed of all this is the distinction between matter and form understood as feminine and masculine, passive and active ... Where others might finger Descartes, Duns Scotus, or "modernity" as the culprit in subverting some wonderful synthesis which the patristic and medieval periods supposedly constructed, Beattie shows, convincingly, that we must step much further back, implicitly agreeing with Anscombe's comment that Western thought is a series of footnotes to Parmenides rather than to Plato. (Vivian Boland, New Blackfriars)

'The new book by British Catholic feminist theologian Tina Beattie, bears witness to de Certeau's notion of the excess in history. The medieval theology she writes about is not a thirteenth-century trash heap that she attempts to remake into a simulacra of the original but a living theological inheritance by which she is claimed, one to which she is beholden but one that is lost to her even as it lives on in her faith. The book is a document of her own melancholic longing for its resurrection. ... Beattie's arguments about Thomas are unexpected, creative, and often beautiful. But the "shimmers" she finds in Thomas of a maternal Trinity and her version of his incarnationalism are, at least in her rendering, very faint. Rather than mourn him, Beattie offers this Lacanian representation of Thomas, one in which Thomas is deconstructed but never quite rebuilt, his resurrection never quite complete.' (Rachel J. Smith, Los Angeles Review of Books)

T.Beattie@roehampton.ac.uk

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Tina Beattie

Tina Beattie has been described as 'a - or perhaps the - leading feminist theologian of her generation', whose work is 'by turns elusive, provocative and illuminating, but always adventurous and never falling into easily predicted patterns.' (Karen Kilby, The Tablet).

Tina was born and grew up in Lusaka, Zambia, and she has lived in Nairobi, Harare and Paris. She left school at 15 and did a secretarial course, following her mother's advice to 'learn to type before you get married, so that if he leaves you you'll be able to support yourself.' (After 43 years of marriage to Dave, she hasn't yet had to put that advice to the test). In 1988 Dave and she moved to Bristol from Harare with their four young children, and Tina started a degree in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol three years later - the year her youngest child started school. After completing her PhD she taught with the Open University for several years. She took up a full-time post at the University of Roehampton in 2002, where she now works as Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of Catherine of Siena College - an online college offering courses in theology, gender and social justice.

Tina is widely published in academic and non-academic books, journals and magazines. Her main research interests are in theology and art, gender and sexuality, and women's rights. After focusing on academic monographs and journal articles for several years, she is now returning to her first creative love - writing fiction as a way of exploring complex ideas through the joys and sorrows of ordinary lives touched by extraordinary events. Tina says:

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my bedroom floor, writing stories in a notebook as a way of avoiding the domestic rows going on elsewhere in the house. Fiction has always been for me far more than a form of escapism. It is an entry into other worlds, where the imagination prowls restlessly along the fringes of possibility and thought, until it arrives at that Wittgensteinian silence where language fails and consciousness sinks into mystery.

The Good Priest is Tina's second published theological novel. Reviewing her first novel, The Last Supper According to Martha and Mary (Burns & Oates/Continuum, 2001), Sara Maitland wrote:

The contemporary novel allows writers the freedom to use psychological ideas and probabilities to thicken the plot, deepen the emotional authenticity, and engage the reader at other levels than the cerebral. This is Beattie's forte; she manages to bring alive a social dynamic for a large group of individuals, and to create subtle and intriguing balances, relationships and reactions - which genuinely do add a drive and plausibility to the outline plot that we all think we know. (Sara Maitland, Journal of Theology and Sexuality).

Tina is a regular contributor to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4. She spends most of her time living on a houseboat on the tidal Thames in London, where she communes with the birds and swims in the river.

Tina's academic website is at this link: https://pure.roehampton.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/tina-beattie(4ad43d9f-b42a-43fb-af88-e2b98ec5121e).html/.

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