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By John Updike

During this antic riff on Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, the Reverend Tom Marshfield, a latter-day Arthur Dimmesdale, is distributed west from his Midwestern parish in sexual shame. At a wilderness retreat devoted to relaxation, game, and non secular renewal, this fortyish serial fornicator is needed to maintain a magazine whose thirty-one weekly entries represent the e-book you currently carry on your hand. In his splendidly overwrought type he lays naked his soul and his past--his marriage to the daughter of his ethics professor, his affair together with his organist, his antipathetic conversations together with his senile father and his bisexual curate, his golfing rankings, his poker palms, his Biblical exegeses, and his smoldering hope for the directress of the retreat, the impregnable Ms. Prynne. A testomony for our times.

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