Via Negativa

Via Negativa Review

A heartfelt, daring, divinely hilarious debut novel about a priest who embarks on a fateful journey with a pistol in his pocket and an injured coyote in his backseat.

Father Dan is homeless. Dismissed by his conservative diocese for eccentricity and insubordination, he's made his exile into a kind of pilgrimage, transforming his Toyota Camry into a mobile monk's cell. Like the ascetic religious philosophers he idolizes, he intends to spend his trip in peaceful contemplation. But then he sees a minivan sideswipe a coyote. Unable to suppress his Franciscan impulses, he takes the wild animal in, wrapping its broken leg with an old T-shirt and feeding it Spam with a plastic spoon.

With his unexpected canine companion in the backseat, Dan makes his way west, encountering other offbeat travelers and stopping to take in the occasional roadside novelty (MARTIN'S HOLE TO HELL, WORLD-FAMOUS BOTTOMLESS PIT NEXT EXIT!). But the coyote is far from the only oddity fate has delivered into this churchless priest's care: it has also given him a bone-handled pistol, a box of bullets, and a letter from his estranged friend Paul--a summons of sorts, pulling him forward.

By the time Dan gets to where he's going, he'll be forced to reckon once and for all with the great mistakes of his past, and he will have to decide: is penance better paid with revenge, or with redemption?

Title:Via Negativa
Edition Language:English

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    Via Negativa Reviews

  • Skip

    A short blurb in the NY Times Book Review made this sounded interesting, and the 4.24 average rating on Goodreads clinched this. Sadly, I was bored with Hornsby's tale of a retired, repentant Catholi...

  • Trin

    Sometimes you like a book so much from the very first page that you read the whole thing with your breath held, hoping it doesn't stumble and disappoint you. Fortunately, Via Negativa retains its foot...

  • Siria

    A surprisingly self-assured first novel, Via Negativa tells the story of Fr. Dan, a rather heterodox priest who is ousted from his retirement in Indiana and sets off on a road trip across the U.S., st...

  • Cat

    This book was beautiful from start to finish in such a plain yet deeply contemplative way. From the first chapter, it's clear Dan is not necessarily the most practical person to take on the task of a ...

  • Sandy Plants

    4.5* I picked this without reading any reviews/ratings of it; without knowing the context—I guess just by looking at the name and cover: I like bright colours :) This was fun and gentle to read with...

  • Gary Branson

    Little character depth made this a slower than necessary read. The struggles of the protagonist were not explored very well and the drug use tedious. The ending also seemed rather anti-climactic. Ther...

  • Rhiannon Nehl

    This is by far my favorite read of 2020 so far! ...

  • Lucas Garner

    I happened upon this book quite randomly. I was B&N and just happened to see the cover, became intrigued, read the first page, and knew that I had to buy it. I rarely buy full-price hardcover books wi...

  • Daryna Yakusha

    This book is a Novel with a capital 'N.' Sure there's a narrative and thing A happens and then thing B happens but something about the prose and the theme elevates it to something that feels like an i...

  • Kathleen Gray

    An unusual read. Daniel is a priest who has lost his flock and now is on a road trip to the West Coast. In between Indiana and Seattle, he comes upon an injured coyote which he rescues and puts in his...