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The Good Priest's Son

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Flying home to New York after a much needed getaway abroad, private art conservator Mabry Kincaid learns that his downtown loft has been devastated by the World Trade Center attacks. Unable to resume his normal life, he flies south to North Carolina to visit his aged father, a widowed Episcopal priest who is cared for by live-in nurse Audrey Thornton and her grown son, Mar ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Scribner (first published May 17th 2005)
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Apr 29, 2016 Howard added it
Shelves: abandoned
I don't know why I have never read any of Reynolds Price's work before, but I wish that I had selected one of his many other books to be the first. I made it half-way through this one, but I don't wish to go any farther.
Sep 12, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed reading regional novels set in the Raleigh, North Carolina area ever since we lived there from 1976-1991. Reynolds Price was a leader in that movement. This novel, written in 2003, was a timely read for me as it was set in the few days and weeks after 9/11/01 and I was reading it exactly eight years later. The characters are flawed but sympathetic. Reynolds Price was a Christian teaching literature at Duke. This book has themes of faith and doubt and love in families, both traditi ...more
Mandy Chilcote
Jan 10, 2017 Mandy Chilcote rated it really liked it
Great read; thankful for the recommendation from my online reading group; rich characters; real-life, familial issues and conflicts; written in beautiful prose
Oct 01, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing, as was expected - the aftermath of 9/11 in Manhattan and the demise of two flawed men -- however the ending went thump.
Dec 30, 2011 Cher rated it really liked it
This is a unique and great story. If you feel too overwhelmed with 9-11 stories, don't let that play into your decision to read this book as it is almost coincidental in relation to the story. Basically it plays a role only in that the main character, Mabry Kincaid, a fifty yr old art conservator, can't get to his NY home after the attacks so instead goes to his childhood home to visit his father. Also, there is another minor role in that Mabry also gets to spend time with his semi-estranged gro ...more
Mar 07, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
Strange book. It was immediately off-putting due to the highly "mannered" prose, maybe for lack of a better word. It was almost like it was written by someone who'd locked himself away for decades, perfecting his craft but eschewing any actual interaction with the real world. Not that Price comes off as naive here, and far be it for me to criticize him in any way anyway, but anyway, the prose kept me from truly believing most of the book. The troubled protagonist is supposed to be a womanizer, b ...more
Mar 13, 2011 Lane rated it liked it
Shelves: the-south
Help me answer some questions that I have from the book:

What is the relationship between Audrey and Tasker and Mabry? Are they related? I started to think that Tasker might be her father (or grandfather, not sure) ...from the references made to him having relations with a few church members; Audrey's saying that her mother had to raise her in Washington DC as it would have been painful to stay in Wells; and Audrey's unexplained devotion to Tasker. And if this isn't the case, then how to explain
May 05, 2015 Rasma rated it did not like it
Purple prose, tell not show, to say the characters are wooden would be to give them too much dimension - cardboard. I am glad for all those who loved this book, and I wish I had. I really, really want to like Reynolds Price's writing. So far a few short stories and his memoir are fairly engaging, but this book has people I don't care about talking about the the same things, that I also don't care about, over and over, in ways that fail - utterly - to convince me of their authenticity. Furthermor ...more
Aug 03, 2009 Chip rated it it was ok
Its a "John Updike returns home to his William Faulkner roots in North Carolina" kind of book. Lots of southern almost-cliche', gothic race-drama and a little dispassionate sex. There's a plot tie in with Van Gogh that was interesting. Overall, there isn't anything here that makes me want to run out and find another Reynolds Price book. I suppose the 9/11 opening had me thinking that this book would be dealing somehow in a meaningful way with the soul-searching this country went through in the w ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
This book, like other books by Price, one of my favorite authors, displays a keen sense of place in both North Carolina & New York City and a keen sense of intergenerational family dynamics--and religious faith and doubt. The story is set in the wake of 9/11/2001--it takes place beginning on that day & over the two succeeding weeks. The primary characters--well, all of them actually--are certain that life will never be the same in the wake of the events of that day. And yet it is clear-- ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it
I liked this book very much even though the subject matter was heavy. It centers on the relationship between an older Episcopalian priest in the South and his son who are estranged from each other and the story continues until the father's death. I enjoyed the quirky characters and Price's wonderful writing style. Loved the mystery of the rescued painting from Italy that may cover a famous artist's work and the visit to New York City shortly after 9-11--I felt as iI were transported there. Recom ...more
Jan 31, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
I read this to see if there is any correlation between his writing and that of Virginia Woolf's. They are both interested in the interior lives of their characters and have lovely descriptive passages. Since Reynolds Price will be moderating the postponed discussion of To the Lighthouse, thought it a good idea to read one of his books again. I am puzzled as to what this book was about. Love, friendship that leads to responsibility for others, southern pride of place? Why is every interaction of ...more
Jul 16, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it
Learning that the Father in this case is not a catholic priests but a former episcopalian sets your mind at rest about the tack this story might take. It's not so much about the father but about the son's life as he wrestles with the probability of MS shortening his life (if the diagnosis is confirmed) as he has contacts with not only his father but other people that have been important in his life. Reynolds is a first rate writer. I recommend this book highly.
Nov 18, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The fact I finished this book before it was due back at the library means I must have liked it, as that is rare. And I did. I picked it up because I recently read Reynolds Price's autobiography A Whole New Life, which describes his battle with cancer, so I was curious to read one of his novels. I'll look for more of them. It's a sad story, in a way, but somehow not depressing.
Laurel Deloria
Jun 12, 2016 Laurel Deloria rated it liked it
Unexpected and interesting plot, an Art Conservator finds his apartment uninhabitable in New York after 9/11 attack. He goes home to North Carolina to see his aged father and discovers how far apart they have become. This is a character driven plot with good story telling. Price has won the National Book Critics Circle Award
Jul 21, 2012 Stuart rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book by Reynolds Price more than the first two I've read. Very real, human story set in the immediately post 9/11 period both in Manhattan and North Carolina.

Price is terrific at expressing real feelings and relationships in a manner that draws you in and makes you feel part of the story.

Back to the library to see which of his other books they have.
Mar 23, 2013 Kay rated it liked it
A review of this, Reynolds' last novel, said it was not his best work. I agree but it does remind you why it is worth reading work by Reynolds Price. Even his "not best work" is so much better than a lot of what is out there, and it reminded me why I like to read Reynolds Price. I plan on reading more of him.
Debbie Maskus
Jan 05, 2013 Debbie Maskus rated it it was ok
I realize that many consider Reynolds Price to be a good writer. He has wonderful themes, but his style of writing goes nowhere. I felt I was reading a lifeless textbook. The sentences are long and the reader loses momentum, as well as knowledge of the story line. The main character did not inspire any strong emotion other than relief that the book was finished.
Doug Browne
Feb 24, 2011 Doug Browne rated it liked it
A fairly good novel, with a few things to say about life.
Unfortunately for me, it was written by and for my parents' generation. Much of what this book has to say is targeted specifically at them.
Jan 10, 2009 Gina rated it liked it
I learned that writers can be superb and awful in the same big news. Price creates good characters and gives them the most banal dialogue in the history of American literature. His themes are interesting and then flip into pedestrian. Sorry, Ren, Ole Boy.
Jan 23, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it
Reynolds Price writes the most amazing dialogue. Normally, I think that not allowing your characters to speak like actual people is an unforgivable sin, but the way these characters talk has forced me to rethink that position.
Feb 08, 2009 Valerie rated it it was amazing
probably more like a 4.5...this novel was so mysterious and life can sometimes be. It really made me think about all kinds of relationships...
Jun 20, 2012 Krista rated it liked it
Read for book group. I must be missing something as I see many other rated it highly. Discussion is tomorrow, so we'll see.
Patrick Schultheis
Apr 08, 2014 Patrick Schultheis rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. The prose truly captures the Southern manner of speaking for a certain generation. The characters are solid. The ending left me puzzled
Apr 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
My dad, a man of distinguishing literary taste, turned me on to Reynolds Price and I am so happy he did. Though his writing is far from fast paced, it's solid with well developed characters.
Apr 27, 2008 Kelly rated it it was ok
I'm still not sure what the author was trying to tell in this story. Not one I'd recommend any time soon.
Aug 02, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
I could read Reynolds Price's grocery list and be enthralled! This story is about the tension between a son, an art conservator, and his father, an episcopal priest
Mary Hardin
Mary Hardin rated it liked it
Nov 02, 2014
Caroline rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2014
Bridget rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2007
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Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University. He taught at Duke since 1958 and was James B. Duke Professor of English.

His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best fi
More about Reynolds Price...

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