Review – Brother John by August Turak

Brother John Finished cover

 

Recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize, Brother John is the true story of a meaningful encounter between the author going through a mid-life crisis, and an umbrella-wielding Trappist monk. This magical encounter on Christmas Eve eventually leads the author, and us all, to the redemptive power of an authentically purposeful life. Uplifting, deeply moving, and set in the magnificent Trappist monastery of Mepkin Abbey, Brother John is dramatically brought to life by over twenty full color paintings by Glenn Harrington, a multiple award-winning artist. Brother John‘s inspirational message takes place at Christmastime, and its inspirational message and rich illustrations are sure to bring the reader back again and again throughout the year.

There’s a theme with the books I’ve been reading lately, it seems. Maybe this is a problem that runs deeper with me than I thought, or maybe it has something to do with my love of psychology and humanity, but I have recently read several books about finding one’s purpose in life. And if I had any disillusions that the theme has continued into my most recent reading, the opening line Brother John has fixed that.

Uncertainty as to life’s purpose is much in vogue today.

Welp. There we have it. I’m just following the crowd.

But seriously. What is the current fascination with purpose all about? What is happening in society that we are all constantly worried about finding our place in life?

Turak examines these questions in his own way.

Brother John is the story of August Turak and an even that changed his life while at a retreat at Mepkin Abbey. His essay is only a few thousand words, so it seems unnecessary to go overly in depth in reviewing this book. It’s a well-written essay about an abbey that sounds beautiful. It is the story of a man who’s life was changed by a chance event on a rainy Christmas night.

Turak’s writing makes it sound very cinematic. I could picture this whole thing, a dark blue filter shading the scene. Rain gently tapping on the roof. A cold draft through the abbey. I could easily place myself into this story.

The thing that struck me most about Brother John however, are the amazing illustrations. What you may not know about me, dear reader, is that I am an artist. It’s one of the multitudes of things that I am exceptionally average at. But art brings me joy. Making art calms me and brings me peace.

I am in no way as skilled as Glenn Harrington, the artist who painted the illustrations for Brother John. These oil paintings are beautiful. They’re do detailed and moving. I have sat in awe over these paintings more than I’d care to admit. But how can you not? They’re amazing.

Glenn Harrington, a very accomplished artist in his own right, painted scenes from Mepkin Abbey and brought this essay to life in a beautiful and interesting way. The way be plays with light, his intention in his brush strokes, his use of color. I am in love with his artwork. I am in love with the way he combines abstraction and realism.

Brother John is only a few thousand words as I’ve said, but the illustrations in the book add to the depth and beauty of this book in a way that would make it a wonderful addition to any library. It would look especially beautiful on display for people to see. It is, in itself, a work of art.

Brother John goes on sale everywhere October 21, 2018. Order your copy now!

Plucky’s rating?

4/5 stars

Yours,

The Plucky Reader

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