The Pages of St. John§
by Russell Dyer
published: december 31, 2015; revised: september 03, 2017; readers in past month: 121
The Pages of St. John
author: Russell J.T. Dyer
publisher: A Silent Killdeer
The novel begins with a journalist from New York interviewing the main character, Martin in his old age. Martin is wealthy, having inherited millions in his youth, and is a famous novelist. After the reader is introduced to Martin in the first chapter, the story goes back to Martin’s childhood, in 1958 to follow his life to see how he became the person the reader has met.
Martin’s parents are divorced. His mother is part of the elite, high society of New York. His father is an erudite and works in foreign services for the U.S. State Department, working at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, under the Ambassador to the Vatican. Neither of his parents have ever shown Martin any affection, but they have scolded every minute misstep he’s ever made. As a result, he’s a quiet and timid boy.
While on summer holiday in Rome to visit his father, Martin meets the historical character, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli—who a few months later becomes Pope John XXIII. The old priest is a loving, grand-father figure and takes a liking to Martin. Before Martin can return to New York, his mother dies from a car accident. So he’s forced to stay with his cold father. Feeling sorry for Martin, the priest takes him on as a part-time assistant. The boy is delighted and spends each day after school with the old man and experiences love for the first time. This lasts for a few years before the Pope dies.
For the remainder of the story, throughout his adult life, Martin searches for a relationship, a woman who will love him unconditionally, as did the priest in his childhood. Although he tries continuously and is always hopeful, he is often unsuccessful and instead finds women with other motives, women who want him for his money or his fame. All Martin wants is someone to love and someone who will love him the way he is, and for nothing but him.