Thursday, April 07, 2011

Book Review: In the Company of Others by Jan Karon

In the Company of Others: A Father Tim NovelIn the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel by Jan Karon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Own.  I own most of Jan Karon's books.

I really enjoyed this beautiful book.  It did take a while to get "into" it, but it was worth the while.

Father Tim and Cynthia travel to Ireland for a needed vacation in this lovely book.  They stay in a small, family run inn and become involved with the family and its intricacies. 

The story is a bit slow to move along, but Karon is building ideas into the story that will be needed later.  Cynthia finds a journal from the 1800s written by the builder of the "Big House" up the hill.  I'm a terrible summarizer, Tim and Cynthia solve a mystery, love the people, and grow in their faith.  There is redemption, forgiveness, and a hope of renewal.  Beautiful.

The dust jacket claims Karon considers this her favorite of the series.  Despite the lethargic plot, I think I agree.  I have to admit to not liking writing in brogue, more work to read sounding it out and translating it in my head.  I do like the journaling device and Karon does it well, however extra characters is more difficult to follow. 

Some quotes:

"Goethe said, 'One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.'" [pg 83]

"'It's not the sort of thing romantics wish to hear, but I found that in the end, love must be a kind of discipline.  If we love only with our feelings, we're sunk -- we may feel love one day and something quite other the next. Soon after [Dooley] came to live with me -- he was eleven years old at the time -- I realized I must learn to love with my will, not my feelings.  I had to love him when he threw his shoe at the wall and cussed my dog, love him when he called me names I won't repeat, love him when he refused to eat what I'd cooked after celebrating and preaching at three Sunday services ... you get the idea. ... I learned after a long period of trial and error to see in him what God made him to be.'" [pg 239]

From the journal discussing the land, "I do not know its Badgers & Weasels, its Oaks & Ashes, its Berries & Brambles, nor even its mite of Bogland -- not least, I have failed to put the place under watch for Poachers & have no idea what occurs within its neglected borders ... I have not sought different vantage points for pleasurable views nor often observed the Lough in its many changes of mood & spirit.  I have but twice lifted a trout from its waters & not once explored the several Islands therein as I once thought to do.  The Improvement of this demesne -- however modest -- coupled with our practice among the people, has greatly wearied me.  I feel my mind at times full of mist, but would confess this anywhere save in these mute pages."  [pg 265]

"Wherever I am, [God] supplies a parish." [pg 301]

"With God's help, we shall see a nasty thing fixed back to a good thing." [pg 334]

"There's something my husband often quotes: Love is an endless act of forgiveness.  Over and over again, we need forgiveness from others, just as we need to forgive others -- over and over again." [pg 363]

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