Now is the Hour – Tom Spanbauer

NITHRigby John left the Idaho farm where he grew up at the age of 17 and hits the road for San Francisco. He left behind his friendship with an Indian/Italian named George.

Tom Spanbauer is the founder of Dangerous Writing (written in first-person narrative and often dealing with cultural taboos. Fiction, as he describes it, is the lie that tells the truth, and, as one of his characters explains, “the best stories are the true stories.”

“Now Is the Hour” is a traditional Māori song:Po atarau E moea iho nei…….Now is the hour, when we must say goodbye……Soon I’ll be sailing, Far across the sea. While I’m away, Oh please remember me. When I return, I’ll find you waiting here

This is a dysfunctional, Roman Catholic family from the days of the desiccated spirituality pre-Vatican 2 and it contrasts with the open spirituality of a Jewish girl and an Indian.

The author could have researched the Church stuff better. You won’t find a chalice in the tabernacle or hear the words ‘Lord I am not worthy’ during benediction. Nor will; you has his strange translation of creed or encounter frankincense and myrrh

Rigby’s mother catches him masturbating (how many times does this happen in books? It must be common for many of us have experienced such) and makes him go to confession. The rosary is said daily in this house but it’s always the Sorrowful mysteries – there is no joy in this house.

Rigby wears a clip on bow-tie, gets a rosary as a prize and enjoys popular songs and the piano as an escape. He sees salvation in Billie and George – I loved God then, their eyes were full of Jesus.

The happy ending is somewhat improbable though maybe autobiographical as the author grew up in  Idaho.

The message, though, that ‘Miracles are out there. You’ve just got to find them’ is good.

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