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A Year Lost and Found

Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd
RRP $24.95

Michael Mayne, an Anglican priest in the United Kingdom who goes on to become the priest at Westminster Abbey and marries the Duke and Duchess of York (Andrew and Fergie), has written a highly readable account of one year of his life where he experienced a debilitating illness.

He writes in a very open, honest, frank and self effacing manner about the daily effects and implications of being struck down in the high point of his ministry with a mystery illness.

A Year Lost and Found is essentially written in two parts. The first, tracking the twelve month period of his illness and the thoughts and feelings he had during this time. The second, being written after he is well on the road to recovery and is more a reflection on the learning, that he gleaned from that experience.

After reading on the back cover that “His theology is carved, often extremely painfully, out of real life….” I was a little disappointed at the lack of depth, clarity and cohesion there was in his theological reflections.

The second half of the book becomes a bit of an eclectic mix of quotes from people he appears to be reading or listening to at the time with no real progression of thought involved. Maybe this is also a reflection on our ability to think coherently during a time of physical and mental illness?

Having said this A Year Lost and Found is well worth reading for those who are undergoing a serious illness, have been through an illness or want to be more effective and have a greater level of empathy in their pastoral care ministry.

Reviewed by Rev John Ruhle minister living in Forbes NSW.