A Month of Sundays is about sex. It is also about religion. When Tom Marshfield, pastor of an unidentified Midwestern church, can’t stop combining the two, his wife, curate, jilted mistress, and bishop intervene to send him to a desert retreat for wayward clergy.
During his month in exile, the Reverend Tom spends the mornings reflecting on his recent exploits and writing a journal with increasingly sermon-like focus, waiting for the bar to open at noon, a round of golf, and an evening playing poker with other fallen fathers.
Guarded over (and secretly read?) by a Nurse Ratchet-like matron, these journal entries start by recounting Tom’s tragic-comic affair with his plump organist – John Updike at his salacious best – move through a sexually rococo phase as Tom gropes his way through the female side of his congregation, and end with a series of increasingly theosophical, although doctrinally dubious, reflections on faith.
A Month of Sundays is not for the Updike newbie. But seasoned fans will find plenty to enjoy.
If you would like your review of this or any other John Updike book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.
This counts as my "calendar" book for the What's in a Name? Challenge and as another book for the Mt. TBR and Off the Shelf Challenges.