Sherry Boas: Wing Tip
Sherry Boas is back with a new novel entitled Wing Tip. Boas, author of the Lily Trilogy which I reviewed in late 2011 (Lily: Real Life, Real Literature), now turns her attention to the life and ministry of a priest, Fr. Dante De Luz, who learns that his father is not the man who raised him but a man from his mother’s wayward past. The new novel continues to showcase Boas’ ability to create characters who are touched by grace.
Wing Tip moves quickly and reads easily. The main character is a fine priest with a creative and prayer-driven ability to touch souls. The narrative is almost uniformly upbeat, increasing the reader’s confidence in grace while prompting deeper reflection on the many ways we can be ambassadors for Christ. The novel is actually refreshingly full of ideas along these lines.
At the same time, Wing Tip is not the achievement that “Lily” was, because it does not have the same depth. Suffering and struggle are minimal, and the characters give the impression of having been set up primarily to fit the plot, rather than the plot growing out of the dilemmas of the characters. Everything is just a little too easy for Fr. Dante, and even when he is portrayed as experiencing doubt about his ability to reach his real father, the pain and doubt are not convincing. Once again, they appear to be introduced primarily as “story requirements”.
To express this same concern in terms of acting, I found it telling that the character who “plays” the man who raised Dante as a boy is “played” by the same man who turned out to be Lily’s father in the earlier trilogy—the prototypical wise and gentle Hispanic male, perhaps reminiscent of a mature Ricardo Montalban. It worked the first time; the second, it is a repetition of a type.
I enjoyed reading Wing Tip, but I recommend it primarily to those who already have a very warm spot for Sherry Boas because of her deeper and more significant work with Lily.
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