136—The Novel against Self-Destruction—Joshua Hren
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Joshua Hren returns to discuss his debut novel, Infinite Regress.
In the years since his graduation from St. Marquis University, Blake Yourrick has fled his family and Milwaukee, rotating from job to dead-end job—working the Bakken oilfields in Dakota and even signing on as the night caretaker of a rural abbey graveyard. Deep in student debt and estranged from his misanthropic, alcoholic father, Blake is haunted by the memory of his mother’s death—and by his relationship with his college mentor, a defrocked priest named Theo Hape, who is known for his adventurous theological ideas as well as for the uncanny, seductive power he wields over his students. When Hape, learning of his former charge’s desperate straits, proposes a perverse exchange of services, Blake finds himself tempted to test the professor’s radical theories in real life. What follows is a metaphysical duel reminiscent of the novels of Dostoevsky and Bernanos, pitting a modern-day anti-Christ against a reckless but resilient young man and his well-meaning, dysfunctional kin. (Publisher’s description)
The book is particularly timely in that it touches on the use of metaphysical deconstruction as cover for sexual deviance and grooming in the world of education.
Thomas and Joshua discuss the novel’s defrocked Jesuit villain, the protagonists’ escape from a philosophy which makes good dependent on evil and so eliminates the boundaries between the two, the book’s themes of monetary and metaphysical debt, its comic tone, and Hren’s unusual associative prose style.
Joshua Hren, Infinite Regress https://www.angelicopress.org/infinite-regress-joshua-hren
Wiseblood Books https://www.wisebloodbooks.com/
Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas https://www.stthom.edu/Academics/School-of-Arts-and-Sciences/Division-of-Liberal-Studies/Graduate/Master-of-Fine-Arts-in-Creative-Writing/Index.aqf?Aquifer_Source_URL=%2FMFA&PNF_Check=1
Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.
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