In Due Season: A Catholic Life
March 2009, Jossey-Bass
Paul Wilkes has been a writer/journalist, a TV producer, a monastic, a hedonist, a friend of the famous, a family man, and ultimately a true prodigal son. With In Due Season, Wilkes, one of America's most respected writers on religious belief and spirituality, details his search for God--from his working class upbringing in Cleveland to giving up everything he owned and living with the poor to his hedonistic life among the rich and famous. Wilkes's inspiring life story is one of abysmal failure and ultimate triumph, of a faith in God, battered and tried in the crucible of his experience.
Paul Wilkes (Wilmington, NC) is a writer and filmmaker who is best known for his focus on religion, especially Roman Catholicism and its monastic tradition.
1. The Seventh Child.
2. A Vision.
3. High School: The Man in the Ten-Way Suit.
4. Coming Home, Leaving Home.
5. College: Red Arrow Park.
6. At Sea.
7. One Hot Day . . . and Night.
8. A Young Reporter.
9. The Big Time, More or Less.
10. Home, Again.
11. On the Streets.
12. CHIPS Days.
14. The Pilgrimage.
15. Not Present.
16. The Sofa.
17. 80 Winthrop.
18. The Scent of a Woman.
As Good as It Gets?
19. On the Playing Fields of the Hamptons.
20. The Perfect Girl for You.
22. The Hermit.
24. A Place to Park.
25. Father Greer.
26. The Writing Life.
27. A Monk, at Last.
28. Why? Why Not?
30. Worthy or Not.
31. Return to St. Peter's.
32. A Light in the Window.
In an exquisite memoir that often reads like a novel, writer Wilkes (In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest) recounts and reflects upon his life as a Catholic. Although his journey includes a decade as a Protestant and ongoing discomfort with certain aspects of Catholicism, Wilkes deftly mines its imagery and its figures, particularly the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, a major and recurring influence. As Wilkes meanders through a life that begins in a working-class Cleveland neighborhood, he candidly relates his passages of sin and saintliness, including a conversion-in-reverse when he gains fame as a writer and an interlude following the end of his first marriage in which he lives among the poor, caring for society's castoffs. Readers will experience his confusion, the "decaying smell of [his] dying soul" and his triumphs as they wonder if the "it" he seeks will find him and whether he will marry again or become a monk. This is fine, engrossing reading for all who appreciate the struggle inherent in the spiritual quest. (Publishers Weekly, January 2009)
"Paul Wilkes has written the first 21st-century Christian classic. His In Due Season: A Catholic Life will rank alongside, not run second to, Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain. It is its companion volume. The bridge between ideals that Wilkes builds with this book carries the American Catholic story from the ghetto, through war, through Vatican II, through the hedonistic 1970s, through a changing church, through the ravages of affluence and easy money, to the questioning of today. In Due Season ranks alongside Merton's best because Wilkes absorbed Merton, then moved forward with him, and ultimately beyond him."
--National Catholic Reporter, reviewed by Arthur Jones, published March 6, 2009.
"Paul Wilkes has written an honest and revealing memoir in which nothing is held back....In Due Season excels on many levels. Wilkes is a felicitous writer who can be read for the simple pleasure of connecting with a prose artist."
--The Boston Globe (June 2009)
Spiritual journeys are never black and white. But often we expect them to be so. And so when we experience doubt and failure, we assume there must be something wrong with our faith, our belief, our very nature. Instead of unquestioningly bowing to authority or disaffectedly leaving the church, author Paul Wilkes demonstrates how we can live out faith in rich, fulfilling, action-packed and grace-filled ways. There is no sanitized version of our quest for God.
In the vein of engaging spiritual memoirs such as Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story Mountain and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, IN DUE SEASON: A Catholic Life (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; March 2009; $24.95 / Cloth ; ISBN: 978-0-470-42333-2) by Paul Wilkes, is one man’s riveting tale of finding and losing God – over and over - and ultimately returning as a true prodigal son.
One of America’s most respected writers on religious belief and spirituality, Paul Wilkes has experienced a life of abysmal failure and ultimate triumph with dramatic milestones along the way including:
- Growing up as part of a poor, working class family and winding his way through lonely nights in a factory but working his way up to being accepted at an Ivy League school
- Finding and failing the “perfect” marriage but running from true love when it found him
- Giving up everything he owned to live with the poor while later spending summers in the Hamptons palling around with Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Kurt Vonnegut
- Sitting at the feet of the Dalai Lama as an avowed hedonist and eventually living as a hermit at a Trappist monastery
- Becoming a true son of the Church and a sinner beyond anything he could have imagined
IN DUE SEASON is ultimately an engrossing page-turner about one man’s faith, battered and tried in the crucible of life. According to the respected Deacon Greg Kanda, it’s an “effort to show that even a ragged Catholic life can still have its moments of grace.” For the spiritually questioning Christian looking for more than a routine practice, IN DUE SEASON will inspire an honest and vital life with God.