A Book for Today

by Michael Potemra

 

One of my favorite novels has to do with a papal resignation: The Clowns of God, Morris L. West’s sequel to his immensely popular The Shoes of the Fisherman. West (1916-99) was a liberal Catholic deeply in love with his Church, and this book about a pope who leaves office after having visions of the end of the world succeeds as both a moving work of eschatology and a suspenseful page-turner. (West was devout in his way, which comes through in his writing; but he was also a real pro at turning out the airport-bookstore type of novel.)