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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  17 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Spencer Bain is a modern man of science, a university anthropologist doing fieldwork in a small New Mexican town. Used to long separations from his wife, a UCLA professor equally dedicated to her career, he is mostly untroubled by his infidelities, and hers; that is, until now.

In order to study the religious practices of the Penitentes, a brotherhood of local men who enga

Paperback, 275 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Ignatius Press
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An excellent and thought-provoking book that deserves a much wider audience. It is as though Graham Greene's plucked up CS Lewis and set him down in New Mexico among a group of primitive, though orthodox Catholics. The book has Greene's earthy honesty about human weakness and flaws even in those striving for spiritual illumination. And the protagonist, Spencer Bain, is like CS Lewis "the most dejected and reluctant convert in Christendom."

Bain is an anthropologist, studying a sect of believers w
Although Harry Sylvester’s Dayspring most reminded me of a Graham Greene type of conversion story, I think it was the time period (vaguely pre- to WWII) and the living-on-edge type of main character which made me think of Greene.

Sylvester’s writing gave me a little more difficulty than his British contemporary although I did become used to his style as I continued to read. Dayspring is purportedly the author’s greatest book, which is one of the reasons why Ignatius Press has re-released it.

Terry Southard
I will think about this book for a long time. I wavered between 4 and 5 stars. I can't decide without thinking about it some more. The main character, Bain, the non-religious intellectual, is someone I will carry with me. A reluctant convert, a convert almost on a whim, or under false pretenses, still influenced by a grace that changes everything.

Oh, my.
a fascinating study of an academic, with all the confused morality of an academic,finding himself struck by the simple faith and lives of the Hispanics of New Mexico. I recognize the academician; I recognize the 'superior' ways of thinking, feeling, interpreting experience. Most of all I recognize the emptiness accompanying that mindset.
An amoral scientist confronting his inner demons. Should he chose the intellectual/elitist/immoral path (read : easy, non-confrontational) or a faith filled life in a secular world (read : ridiculed and derided by the secularists that dominate his profession). Great book, great characters and plot.
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