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ABOUT THE BOOK:
Brother Stephen dies suddenly. That’s when things get complicated. Is Stephen’s death his wake-up call? That’s a possibility that slowly dawns on him. Soon he is behind the wheel of a Prius, driving through his afterlife, listening to himself being interviewed on NPR. His afterlife feels a lot like high school, he tells Terry, and she questions him about those lawsuits filed by students who claimed to have been molested by pedophile Brothers. As an administrator of his Roman Catholic religious order, he was caught in the middle of all these heartbreaking cases. In fact, the lawsuit he was dealing with the moment he died is one that strikes especially close to his heart. He once knew the plaintiff. He once knew her very well. He also knew very well the Brother who is named in the lawsuit. Now that he is dead, Brother Stephen is more determined than ever to get to the truth. He spends his afterlife solving a terrible mystery or two—about the survivor and about the accused. The biggest mystery he faces, however, is the one about himself.
PRAISE FOR ALL FOR NOW:
Di Prisco (Sun City) takes a bold and unexpectedly amusing look at the unfortunately joined subjects of religion and pedophilia. When Brother Stephen, an administrator of a Roman Catholic religious teaching order dealing with lawsuits from former students who claimed to have been molested by his brothers, suddenly dies, he finds himself in the afterlife—driving a Prius in Northern California as an NPR interview of himself plays on the radio. Needless to say, he’s shocked and confused, but he discovers that this is only the beginning of the oddities he will soon encounter. He returns to an amorphous afterlife version of his former high school, where, in a nod to Orwell, all doors lead to “Room 101,” and one of them holds his old girlfriend Shannon, now a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits. The dreamlike events that ensue with not only Shannon but also former mentor Brother Charlie and a student Brother Stephen taught 30 years ago forces Stephen to confront truths that he would rather have left unexamined. Though Di Prisco takes a heartbreaking look at the scars left by pedophilia, and some readers will surely feel anger at the sins, the tale unfolds, bravely, with much humor thanks to Brother Stephen’s bemused narration
– Publishers Weekly
“What makes Joseph Di Prisco’s novel work is its narrative voice— poignant, rueful, and wise-crackingly sardonic. This voice belongs to a just-deceased Catholic Brother, lingering in the afterlife to sort out his life’s meanings and errors, confronting friends and enemies. This is a novel about posthumous discoveries, reunions and revenge. Readers of J.F. Powers’ Morte d’Urban and Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy should find their way to All For Now.”
– P.F. Kluge, author of A Call From Jersey, Gone Tomorrow, and Eddie and the Cruisers
“What will the afterlife be like? If we’re lucky, it would be something like the humorous and humane version Joseph Di Prisco imagines in All for Now, a smart, sparkling tale about faith, religion and devotion under less than ideal circumstances—that is, the average existence.”
– Oscar Villalon, Managing Editor Zyzzyva Magazine
“Joseph DiPrisco has crafted a completely original thriller. What happens AFTER we die? It’s the question Brother Stephen asks in DiPrisco’s All for Now. Can Brother Stephen solve the case he was working on when he died or can he discover how he got where he is and why he’s still here? The quick pace and sharp writing make All for Now a book you can’t bear to put down.”
– Kathleen Caldwell, Owner, A Great Good Place for Books
It is especially moving to read a book that looks so broadly at the ubiquitous issue of Roman Catholicism and pedophilia. Brother Stephen, the novel's narrator and protagonist, dies suddenly in the midst of managing a lawsuit dealing with the alleged abuse of a former student by his former mentor - Brother Charlie. Shannon, the plaintiff, is also a former "friend" of Stephen's. The distance that the afterlife affords Stephen gives the book its psychological charge. Suddenly, it is simultaneously the late 1960's and the
present moment, and our culturally shifting views of this ever-existing problem collide. Joseph Di Prisco has given us a brave, bumbling, soul-searching hero whose wry humor only enhances his honesty.
– Jan Weissmiller, Owner, Prairie Lights Books
Brother Stephen drops dead while in the middle of dealing with a string of lawsuits brought against his order by former pupils claiming they were sexually abused. He then finds himself piloting a Prius to various destinations in the afterlife, all of which represent important turning points in his earthly life and lead him closer to resolving the central mystery behind the latest lawsuit. That one was particularly meaningful for him, since it involved the great love of his life, Shannon, and the role his mentor, the popular Brother Charlie, played in the sordid ordeal. His journey also gives Brother Stephen the courage to face his own traumatic adolescence and the defining moment that convinced him to enter religious life and to leave behind the girl he loved Di Prisco opens each chapter with a question and answer from the bible of Catholic childhood, the Baltimore Catechism, wickedly laying out the contrast between dogma and behavior. The novel’s surreal tone, Brother Stephen’s drily acidic worldview, and the enigmatic portrait of a pedophile all combine to deepen this thoughtful look at the heartbreak left in the wake of child sexual abuse.
– Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
Eventually we discover a portrait of a man for whom death offers a second chance to address the life he lived, even offering him the prospect of something like redemption, that most Catholic of concepts — yet this is a very personal sort of redemption. God figures little into the equation. Rather it is Stephen discovering for himself that he always had the power to live to the fullest, had he chosen to do so. He wonders, aloud to Shannon sometimes, if there is a meaning to life. Of course, he never finds a satisfactory answer. But he does find a way to become satisfied with his own, and through this, he achieves a sort of peace. It is sad and poignant and beautiful. If all deaths occurred in the same manner, I think we would all have a little less reason to fear it.
-- Antal Polony, Seven Ponds
At first glance, All for Now sounds like it could be a tough read because it deals with clergy sexual abuse and death. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Deploying intelligence and humor, author Joseph Di Prisco examines his subject in an engaging and entertaining way, and the end result is anything but morbid…Brother Stephen is a sympathetic character with a wry sense of humor, which ironically infuses the story of his death with liveliness. As he careens through his afterlife, which most closely resembles a dream with its fanciful aspects, he hears himself interviewed on NPR, and visits jumbled scenes from his life, most prominently high school. Puzzled, Stephen tries to figure out what is going on. What's going on is that he must finally face the truth of his life. Brother Stephen tackles his death experience with an aplomb he apparently never managed in life, and we root for him the whole way through his afterlife adventures…Catholic or not, religious or not, All for Now is accessible to everyone because mistakes and forgiveness are universal. A novel about a serious topic that is no downer, both All for Now and its protagonist come to a satisfying end.
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-- Nancy Fontaine, Seattle Post Intelligencer