Writers. Most of my impressions of Thomas Merton were set in place fifty years ago, when I first read his works and read about him. Since that time, I’ve read him from time to time, and even listened to a recording of a retreat he gave to some nuns using “modern” technology: tape recordings he made in the Abbey of Gethsemane and mailed to the nuns. When I saw that the writer Mary Gordon has approached Merton from the perspective of his seven volumes of journals and the totality of his writing, my interest in Merton was renewed. Thanks to Gordon and her finely written book titled, On Thomas Merton, I understand Thomas Merton better as a person, as a writer, and the struggles he faced as a Trappist monk. I found one interesting tidbit that I had not expected to read. Merton’s superiors in the Trappist community pressured him to publish as a source of community revenue, and that pressure didn’t play well with his struggles to reveal himself through his writing. Thanks to Gordon’s empathy with the struggles of a writer, readers can understand Merton’s life in new ways.
Rating: Four-star (I like it)
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