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Abram Singer is a Catholic priest with an unusual name and a dark secret.
Against the backdrop of gritty 1970s New York, in a simple, straightforward style, he tells us his story. The son of an absent Jewish father and a devout Italian mother, Abram was drawn to the meaningful structure of the seminary, eventually becoming a parish priest in Manhattan. His sincerest wish is to do God’s work, but he is not without human failings: he is irresistibly attracted to women and has a secret lover named Lisa. But when an anonymous letter arrives threatening to expose his liaison, he is forced to decide whether the risks of his sin have become too great.
Riveting and powerfully intimate, Unworthy unflinchingly explores the nature of faith, loyalty, and identity — and gives us a timeless portrait of a man trying to make his way in America’s greatest city.
“With elegance, grace, and clarity, Antonio Monda depicts a crisis of faith and longing in New York in the 1970's. This finely-crafted love story captures the swirling contradictions not only of the past, but of the present, too.” (Colum McCann, author of Thirteen Ways of Looking and Let the Great World Spin)
“Antonio Monda’s passionate, singular novel gives us a whiskey priest for the ages. In public, Father Abram Singer ministers tenderly to his parishioners, but he’s secretly drowning in vice. He lies, betrays the innocent, steals from the offertory to buy trinkets for his latest inamorata, but he also sees Jesus in the faces of New York’s most abject poor. This is a moving love story and a dark gaze into the abyss, and I savored every graceful, inspired word. Move over, Graham Greene: Monda in the house.” (Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club and The Art of Memoir)
“Antonio Monda has written a striking novel about an unlikely priest, one who is alive with contradictions. This is a beautiful meditation on faith, sex, frailty, and, above all, love.” (Cathleen Schine, author of The Three Weissmanns of Westport)