Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son


Product Details

Free Press
Publish Date
5.51 X 8.44 X 1.0 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Peter Manseau, born in 1974, is a novelist, memoirist, and historian and serves as Curator of Religion at the Smithsonian Institution. His first novel, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, won the National Jewish Book Award, the American Library Association's Sophie Brody Medal, and the Ribalow Prize. A Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, it was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize as well as France's Prix Mรฉdicis ร‰tranger, and has also been published in Spain, Italy, Israel, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Along with his novels, Manseau is the author of eight nonfiction books. He lives with his family in Annapolis, Maryland.


"This is a strange and marvelous story, told with unerring grace. In the Manseau family, the call to religious service is like the call of the ancient Sirens. And yet they survive. Peter Manseau's writing is keen-eyed, lyrical, muscular, and more, and while Vows is a story about big ideas -- religion, devotion, sacrifice -- it is above all a love letter to his own family."

-- Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics and author of Turbulent Souls
"[Vows] forms a history of how the priesthood evolved -- and how people navigate the boundaries between religious tradition and modern life. In the process, Manseau paints a picture of liberal -- and devoutly religious -- Catholics facing up to the church's authority."

-- Terry Gross, Fresh Air
"With the grace of a gifted storyteller and a son's love for his parents, Peter Manseau tells a story that's not been previously told....Vows...isn't sensational or hostile, but rather a revelatory and nuanced exploration of his parents and their relationship with the Catholic Church, which has both blessed them and wounded them."

-- Paula Voell, The Buffalo News
"There are moments in Vows...when the prose is so achingly beautiful that the reader must stop for a moment.... If you've ever graced a pew or wondered about the people who do, Vows goes a long way toward explaining faith."

-- Hartford Courant