John Barbour Reading Tuesday, December 3rd 7:30 pm


John D. Barbour will read his new book, "Renunciation: A Novel" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Monkey See, Monkey Read bookstore in Northfield. 

The book describes two brothers involved with new religious movements in the 1970s and how the family relationships and religious commitments conflict, intertwine and shape each other. The plot begins in 1971, when Will George converts to Bhakti Dharma, a new religious movement influenced by Hinduism and Sikh tradition. Returning to his home in Minnesota, Will renounces his previous life, provoking a crisis for everyone in his family. George's religious search continues in India where he dies under suspicious circumstances. Peter retraces his brother’s steps to investigate his death and wrestles with what it means to be his brother’s keeper.

The developing relationship between the two brothers dramatizes the theme of renunciation as expressed both in explicit religious vows and in other choices they make. Acts of renunciation reveal a longing for sacrifice and self-transcendence, and sometimes also a dangerous and destructive urge. The novel has a number of connections with Northfield, including one brother who goes to Carleton College and another to St. Olaf.

Barbour, a professor of religion and Boldt Distinguished Teaching chair in the Humanities at St. Olaf College, is the author of scholarly essays and four books.

Monkey See, Monkey Read

425 Division St. SNorthfield, MN 55057  507.645.6700