"John L'Heureux is one of the truly valuable writers of his generation."
--O. Henry Awards
"John L'Heureux is a magnificent hold-out. In an age of
tour-de-force technique, three-ring-circus virtuosity, L'Heureux builds
stories the way the Shakers built chairs; in an age which has cut the
imagination free, an age of hippogriffs and seven-legged maidens, L'Heureux
sits, stodgy as old Chekhov, observing real human beings and putting them on
paper, pore by pore... A wise writer, with a wisdom as old as the
"A moving book about the strange
zones of intersection between love and cruelty--from one of our finest
--Scott Turow (on Shrine)
"A writer who picks up his
readers by the scruff of the neck and won't let them go."
storyteller...elegant, cunning, and wickedly funny."
--The Washington Post
[for THE MIRACLE]
wry but revelatory look at the connection between faith and love . .
.L'Heureux's strength is his ability to expose the all-too-human foibles
and flaws of his outstanding ensemble cast, as he connects the dots with
short, punchy scenes that instantly get to the heart of the matter. As
usual, L'Heureux also looks unflinchingly at a variety of tough moral
issues, balancing the serious stuff with humor in a deceptively light
style that makes this book entertaining as well as challenging. . . . A
balanced, wise book built around the life of a priest in a time when the
clerical profession is under attack from a wide array of critics."
"A finely crafted story of a young priest's crisis of faith (and
love) is the latest success from . . . L'Heureux. Anybody who was
ordained in the 1960s faced pretty stiff casualty rates from the start,
and Father LeBlanc-idealistic, intellectual, liberal, and more than a
tad na´ve-is the sort who is bound to find Church life hard going at
the best of times. . . . . [He] has to decide whether he should remain a
priest-and what he wants to do if he leaves-and, more importantly,
whether he still believes in God. Deeply moving and personal, told
with great restraint and skill."
quietly, almost tenderly, like Charles Baxter, about faith and about
regular people. L'Heureux also has a gift for making highly accessible
characters, characters. When they make mistakes, no matter how grave, it
is easy to understand. . . . L'Heureux brings the priest through his
crisis of faith with the same tenderness that makes all his books such a
pleasure to read."
--Los Angeles Times
"It would be
reductive to label the Jesuit-educated writer John L'Heureux a Catholic
novelist, as his previous 16 books have tackled a
range of characters from all walks of life: Latino immigrants, smarmy
academics, half-mad socialites and a whole host of slightly confused,
hardworking folks struggling to make their way in a world where God may
or may not be watching.
it is when L'Heureux writes about the existential conundrum and applies
it to Catholic priests that the author seems to be standing on
the shoulders of giants. Titled simply "The Miracle,"
L'Heureux's 17th book gives a rare human depth to a young priest who
wants to become a
saint. Father Paul
LeBlanc is a Catholic radical but a lovable one. Born in a working-class
neighborhood in Boston, "Father LeBlanc is just like anybody
from the parish, except he is smarter and teaches Latin and is a
priest." Paul is beloved by his students, and one has to remind
himself of the fact the
young father is a priest because he is so handsome and funny. When he
plays basketball with the kids, "he can be
a mean son of a bitch under the net when he goes up for a hook
shot." Paul sings show tunes in the halls of the church, and there
is a line to visit his
confessional because, above all, Father Paul LeBlanc understands people.
fact, his sympathy is a problem for the church. In the tumultuous
aftermath of the post-Vietnam '70s, Paul is ordered to visit Monsignor
Glynn in hopes that the youthful priest will stop preaching sermons
promoting racial equality and inner-city busing. The
church elders also want to halt Paul's unorthodox habit of easing the
conscience of his flock when they admit to using birth control.
"If the Church took charity and justice as seriously as it takes
masturbation and birth control, it would be a very different Church,"
Paul informs the Monsignor. Though
Glynn shows outward disapproval of Paul's views, he is secretly moved by
Paul's passion and sends the young man to assist a dying
priest, Father Tom Moriarty, the Monsignor's oldest friend. Paul
perceives his transfer from his home parish in Boston to a resort
shore in New Hampshire as a punishment, but he is determined to make the
best of it. Still, Paul finds he is vexed by the sarcastic
Father Moriarty, who suffers from the degenerative muscular disease ALS,
and fears the old priest's rotting faith will contaminate
him. Paul is even more vexed when the housekeeper, Rose, a lonely single
mother, develops a crush on him.
outwardly Paul is the same happy-go-lucky priest, in his private
chambers he weeps and prays without ceasing and even sometimes
practices self- flagellation. Like the young priest in L'Heureux's much
anthologized story "Departures," Paul loves God but can't
seem to manage to love himself, maybe because he doubts God loves him
back. One day, during his prayers at Mass, Paul strikes a deal
with the Almighty. "Whatever you want, I'll give it. But love
me," Paul silently prays as he prepares Communion.
the very moment Paul strikes his bargain, Rose's teenage daughter,
Mandy, is dying of a drug overdose across town. When Paul is alerted
that the girl is ill, he stops services and runs over to Rose's
apartment only to find Mandy cold and blue. Around her corpse stands her
weeping mother, a doctor and Rose's landlord. Together these four
witness a miracle. Just in time to confound the newly arrived
paramedics, Mandy rises to her feet, a shaky and disoriented lady
Lazarus, and declares, "I need some aspirin." Paul knows in
his heart that God has kept his end of the bargain by allowing him to
experience the miracle, and he vacillates between elation and fear,
knowing that he is now someone God deals with personally. Until this
point, L'Heureux writes with great purposefulness and masterful control
of the plot. The sentences are tight, clear and declarative; the tone is
both serious and comic. The writing feels essential, as if the author is
capable of leading his audience to the divine revelation that Paul
himself yearns for. But when Mandy dies a month later in a senseless
motorcycle accident, Paul's whole spiritual foundation crumbles, and
both Paul and the reader are left to wonder: "What is the point in
a miracle revoked?" After Mandy's death, Paul has to go back to
being an ordinary priest, a station that drives him to thoughts of
suicide. And yet even in the absence of a bona fide miracle, the
doubting Father Moriarty is able to show Paul how to glean a residue of
hope when faith has evaporated. "If in doubt, choose life,"
advises Father Moriarty, wasting away on his deathbed. "Whatever
the hell that's supposed to mean.""
--The San Francisco Chronicle
[for AN HONORABLE PROFESSION]
Brilliant and complex...A
deeply ambitious novelist...who isn't afraid of dealing with dark themes
and what it means to be fully human, especially in the frightening and
ecstatic world we create behind the darkened bedroom walls."
--The New York Times Book Review
"An Honorable Profession is a
novel about survival both personal and professional, not merely that but
survival with dignity and self-respect. It is itself an honorable
--The Washington Post Book World
his fourteenth novel, L'Heureux shines a light on the dark side of a
supremely accomplished man's life....L'Heureux is a masterful prose
stylist who creates full-bodied, flawed characters enmeshed in life's
"Having Everything is a gracefully written, painfully familiar look
at adulthood. The writing is so sharp and clear, in fact, that
Having Everything is an Andrew Wyech painting of a novel, in which every
gesture, every blade of grass cuts through in some emotion, traveling a
distance from skin to heart that could exist only after at least four
decades of life..."
--Los Angeles Times
"A master of understated, ominous
moments in a marriage in which not asking a question can be more
disastrous than asking it. . . . Sharp, moving, poignant."
--Washington Post Book World
"John L'Heureux is perhaps
today's most frightening novelist because his characters, for all their
strange behavior, are not freaks or misfits. They are the people we see
and know. . . . Having Everything is an unforgettable exploration of
what it means to become fully human."
"A master of spoof and irony . .
. As the book moves forward to a conclusion that readers will sense is
going to be catastrophic, it is impossible to stop turning its
"Witty and interesting"
[for A WOMAN RUN MAD]
"Remind[s] one of Iris Murdoch, or Muriel Spark, or E. M.
Forster. Yet A Woman Run Mad is unlike any novel I know . . .
unusual intelligence and personality are alive throughout the
--New York Times Book Review.
"Witty and literate . . . Grand
Guignol for grown-ups."
"Unless you have
no interest in passions, the edge of madness, forbidden obsessions,
runaway libidos and dangerous desires Woman Run Mad will
fascinate you, from its title to its perfect final sentence. . . . A
thinking man's Fatal Attraction."
"Normality -- as
our time understands the word -- and monstrosity are L'Heureux's poles,
and he joins them with extraordinary dexterity. . . . The ending is not
to be revealed."
Times Book Review
suspense story . . . It is the kind of story that might well have
appealed to a writer like Patricia Highsmith, a drama of interlocking
--The New York Times
[for THE SHRINE AT ALTA MIRA]
"A powerfully effective piece of drama."
--The New York Times Book Review
The Miracle centers around Fr. LeBlanc, a
young, devout priest who is transferred out of Boston because of his
radical ideas about sex, marriage and birth control. His liberal ideas
are deemed dangerous to the church, and he is exiled to a beach
community. Having doubts about his faith, Fr. LeBlanc finds himself
falling in love with a woman, and then, suddenly, is witness to a
miracle: in front of his eyes, a dead girl comes back to life. This
leads him to further question his faith, vows and life itself.
Miracle is the first novel to accurately capture the relationship of
a man truly tortured by his relationship to God. Profound,
thought-provoking and deeply moving, The Miracle is John
L'Heureux's best, most ambitious novel.
Rights: Contact Lukeman