Cocktails with the Pope

by Richard Brookhiser

Tonight I am going to a book party for Susan Vigilante and her new book Breakfast with the Pope. The Pope in question is John Paul II, and I love the title for its hint of a mash-up of him and Audrey Hepburn.

There are lovely vignettes of Italy here (much of the book takes place in Castel Gandolfo, the town where popes go in the summer), as well as observations of a world-historical figure that will be interesting to anyone with a taste for last-century history.

But make no mistake — this is an earnest, at times harrowing book, shadowed by disappointment, death, and betrayal. Joseph Campbell and his heirs have made the phrase “spiritual journey” seem like the Hamptons jitney. This is the real thing. Catholics, Protestants, and plain old shoulder-shruggers will find it well worth their time.