Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: The Vicar of Great Snoring by Dwight Longenecker

The Vicar of Great Snoring (The Adventures of Humphrey Blytherington) by Dwight Longenecker

Father Dwight Longenecker is an author with many good volumes to his name. He's written a short story about one of the characters from his blog. That character is Humphrey Blytherington, a Church of England pastor who just wants to get along with a quiet life. He is described thusly on the the blog:
Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.
The tale is a bit of an origin story (like most superheroes have), describing how the good reverend came to Great Snoring. The story starts as he applies for the post at the Snorings' parishes. Vague hints are made of a financial kerfuffle at his previous parish, but since the story is told by Blytherington, you can't expect much in the way of detail or precision in such matters. He fumbles his way through with lots of good, comic scenes, like his introduction and induction into the Great Snoring Morris Dancers (Morris Dancers are a rather jolly though quaint folk dancing group found in England and among diasporadic anglophiles around the world).

The story is a fun little romp through English country culture. After living here for a year and a half, it is easy to fill the story's scenes with events and people I've seen first hand. I definitely recommend reading this for a slice of humor and British life.

SAMPLE QUOTE--Humphrey and the wife discuss one of the competing applicants for the vicarage...
“Oh dear. Why on earth does he want to come to a backwater like the Snorings?”
“Working on some sort of thesis, and has to live and work with the locals for a few years.”
“Why doesn’t he take himself off and become a missionary to the ignorant natives in the back of beyond?”
“I think that’s what he has in mind in coming to the Snorings.”

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