By John Updike
During this antic riff on Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, the Reverend Tom Marshfield, a latter-day Arthur Dimmesdale, is shipped west from his Midwestern parish in sexual shame. At a wasteland retreat devoted to relaxation, activity, and religious renewal, this fortyish serial fornicator is needed to maintain a magazine whose thirty-one weekly entries represent the booklet you currently carry on your hand. In his splendidly overwrought type he lays naked his soul and his past--his marriage to the daughter of his ethics professor, his affair together with his organist, his antipathetic conversations together with his senile father and his bisexual curate, his golfing ratings, his poker fingers, his Biblical exegeses, and his smoldering hope for the directress of the retreat, the impregnable Ms. Prynne. A testomony for our times.
From the alternate Paperback edition.
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Extra info for A Month of Sundays: A Novel
His instinct told him that he could trust the South African, plus they shared the brotherhood of warriors. In any case, if he wanted to get money to Chief Ibrahim, Boerke was about his only option right now. He pulled a slip of paper from his pocket. ‘When you’ve taken Bioko, can you get this into the hands of the chief of Fernao village? It’s a numbered Zurich bank account, complete with access codes. There’s a sizeable amount of money in there – what Raff paid Mojo to bust me free. The chief’s son died because of us.
The commander barked out a series of staccato orders. Camouflaged figures dashed in all directions, some back into the village, others to either end of the beach. One came skidding to a halt at the edge of the swamp. ‘So, we continue with our little game,’ the commander announced, still searching in all directions. ‘And so we fetch the next child. I am a patient man. I have all the time in the world. I am quite happy to shoot every last one of your pupils, Mr Jaeger, if that is what it takes. Show yourself.
Not as weird as it may sound: they specialise in remote area filming – expeditions, wildlife, corporates; that kind of thing. Employ a lot of ex-forces types. ’ ‘Sounds like,’ Jaeger confirmed. ‘Carson had a proposition for us – a lucrative one. An air wreck has been discovered deep in the Amazon. Second World War-era most likely. The Brazilian military found it when doing aerial surveillance along their far western border. Suffice to say, it’s in the absolute bloody middle of nowhere. ’ Jaeger queried.