What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. Short story about a priest [s]

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message 1: by Phillip (new)

Phillip (jeeveswooster) I am looking for the title and author of a short story that I read about 40 years ago in a school anthology (maybe, it was anthologized). I think the title was something like "The Deacon of Saint Mary's Cathedral" But I can't find a story like that. I don't remember if the lay priest was described as a lay priest, a Deacon, or a Reader. I don't remember the name of the Saint the cathedral was named after.

The story begins with our hero leaving his job because the church has a new rule that their Readers/Deacons/whatever-it-is must be able to read. His boss wants him to stay and asks if he can just begin learning to read. He has been performing the service for 25 years and he says "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" about the idea of learning to read (he repeats the phrase a few times about learning to read throughout the story).

Our hero decides that he wants a cigarette while he is collecting his thoughts and realizes that there had never been a candy store on that street before (where cigarettes could be purchased). He opens a candy store and it is a huge success. In a few years he has a chain of candy or tobacco stores. He has made so much money that the Bank President has asked to speak with him.

During the interview the Bank President explained that he needed permission to invest the hero's money for him. It was too much money to let sit in the bank collecting little or no interest. The hero explained that he would have to bring the paperwork home for his wife to read to him because he was illiterate.

The Bank Manager was astonished that in a few short years an illiterate person could go from nothing to having something like 10 or 30 thousand pounds (I think the denomination was in pounds) in the bank. He speculated aloud what incredible thing the man would have been able to do if he could have read. The hero's answer was: "Be the Reader/Deacon of Saint whatever-it-was Cathedral."

I haven't found this story in Joyce's "Dubliners" nor in any other Irish or English anthologies. I don't know if it was translated from another language (maybe it was Russian or Central Asian or French) or much of anything. I have even wondered if it was an American writer writing a story about Europe.

I have wondered if it was one of the stories from the old SAT reading supplement cards that we used to have to do in elementary school. I haven't found a list of what stories where in the cards at that time.

It was a very short story almost like an O Henry story, but I don't think it was one of his either. I have asked Literature professors, seasoned academic librarians, my children's literature teachers along the way and some of them have even asked their colleagues. So, my hope is that someone will remember this story in the same way that "Jar of Fools" was Identified for me. Thank you. I think this is a great group.


message 3: by Phillip (new)

Phillip (jeeveswooster) Phillip wrote: "I am looking for the title and author of a short story that I read about 40 years ago in a school anthology (maybe, it was anthologized). I think the title was something like "The Deacon of Saint ..."

This is exactly the story I was looking for. I am impressed. Oh, and thanks for the background info.


message 4: by HeavyReader (new)

HeavyReader | 450 comments I am going to move this thread to a solved folder, but I don't know how to go about adding this to the group's bookshelf, as it looks like Kristina found the story Phillip was looking for, but not necessarily the book it was in. Maybe one of the other moderators know what to do. Please tell me!


message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip (jeeveswooster) Needleroozer wrote: "I am going to move this thread to a solved folder, but I don't know how to go about adding this to the group's bookshelf, as it looks like Kristina found the story Phillip was looking for, but not ..."

I have looked through the introductory posts and am still puzzled by how to move a request to Solved. But thank you. As far as I am concerned my question is solved. I'm not interested in what book it may have been anthologized in.


message 6: by HeavyReader (new)

HeavyReader | 450 comments Phillip, if you go up to the top of the thread, next to the title you gave to the thread in the topic line, there is a tiny "edit" hyperlink. If you click on that "edit" link you will go to a new page and see a heading of "folder." Next to that heading is a drop down menu. There are several folder options there, including several "solved" folders.

I think a group member can only move his/her own thread, unless one is a moderator.

I understand you don't care what book the story was anthologized in. That's cool. As a moderator, I'm just trying to do group housekeeping.

Let me know if I can help in any other way.

Cheers!


message 7: by HeavyReader (last edited Feb 16, 2012 03:04PM) (new)

HeavyReader | 450 comments I know Phillip is not concerned with what book this short story was anthologized in, but if anyone else is following this thread and is interested, it was included in Cosmopolitans.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36...

It was first published in a magazine in 1929, as "The Man Who Made His Mark."


message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip (jeeveswooster) Needleroozer wrote: "Phillip, if you go up to the top of the thread, next to the title you gave to the thread in the topic line, there is a tiny "edit" hyperlink. If you click on that "edit" link you will go to a new p..."


Thanks for the info. I am new to Goodreads as well as to this group. I am hopping that eventually I will have read something that will answer someone else's question.


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