Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Shannon." by Frank Delany

I loved this book. It tells the story of a shell shocked priest who has lost his vocation and therefore his soul. His search follows the Shannon River up one side and down the other. Literary and figuratively.

Unfortunately along the way I realized that I have lost my way as well. I realized this when I read this exchange in chapter 10 on page 110:
Michael the Lion had more stains on his clothes than Robert had ever seen. And the more Robert stared, the more some of them began to look like Lion's heads. Michael started to speak again.
"I have serious things to say about people tracing their family. The reason we want to discover our ancestors is a strong thing. 'Tis as strong in certain ways, if you'll forgive me, Father, as prayer. Here's what I'm saying. If I said you're forty years of age, and all you know about yourself is that you were born, say, over the hill there, in some old bit of a house, you've nothing to go on. You've, like, no bank account. I mean, what was there before you, your father and maybe your grandfather? Thats as far as you can go, God help you, for you're a poor man.
He had caught Roberts attention, as much with his passion as with his ideas. Robert leaned forward, trying hard as he had ever done to concentrate and retain.
"A poor man." he repeated.
"Yes, Father, a poor man. A very poor man."
The Lion hit his arm of his chair with a thump- and Robert did not start in fright.
"A very poor man, because supposing you did not know who you were in the long-term backwards- and suppose you knew that in the long-term backwards there was a wonderful sportsman or artist or a woman famous for her piano playing in your family- well, you'd go forward in a different mood, wouldn't you? And you'd want to know, were you any small bit like them, wouldn't you? And if you were- well, wouldn't that lift your spirits? Those are the benefits of the past."
The Lion grabbed his glass and sat forward.
"Father, if we don't come from somebody, we're nobody. If we don't come from somewhere, we come from nowhere. And if we don't know where we came from, how do we know where to go."
This pretty much sums up what I have been after these past years. I now know that I am a rich man, with a rich past, but I lost my vocation along the way and I'm not sure which way to go. Kinda counter to what is being said here. Maybe that's why I feel so lost.


Want to learn more about Frank Delaney? Click on the thumbnail of his book in this blog and you will be taken to his official site.