Picks and Pans Review: Faith, Sex, Mystery

updated 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Richard Gilman

Every serious writer, Gilman says, wants to "make sense of everything, but more than that, to make peace with it." While he does offer some thought-provoking insights on the nature of modern man's concern with religion, he doesn't make much sense of it. Gilman grew up Jewish. He read avidly. He thought serious thoughts. He married, and he and his wife had difficulties. He worried that his erotic fantasies weren't "normal." He began to read about the Catholic Church. Gilman describes a mysterious coincidence—a library book on theology that forced itself on him. He met a beautiful woman who taught him about Catholicism. When his wife asked him to leave, he fled to Colorado, and was baptized there. But even as he embraced the Church, he began to pull away. Gilman, a professor at the Yale School of Drama, examines with admirable honesty his belief in God and his dismay that he is going to die. To his credit he has collected provocative quotes from original thinkers. He is good at expressing his rage at the born-again folks. He is also a graceful writer. He sets a scene (if only there were more of them) or describes a priest or friend or woman with uncommon deftness. Faith, Sex, Mystery will interest serious-minded readers who like questions for which apparently there are no answers. (Simon and Schuster, $16.95)

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