Absolutely the best! Above top-notch. I've read, I think, every printed word of fiction J.F. Powers wrote, with delight and gratitude. I've read "Morte D'Urban" three times. No, make that four -- I'm heading to the bookshelf right now.
Morte D'Urban is the best known of Powers' works, but I found the juxtaposition of theological rumination and broad humor a little too jarring. It's a first novel that reminds me of a young wine. I think his characteristic elements coalesce and harmonize more successfully in Wheat That Springeth Green.
The First Things article makes a good point in that it may be difficult to understand the delicacy (and satire) of Powers's approach because he is writing about the pre-Vatican II church in which the hierarchy -- and numbers -- of priestly domestic life was much different. "Wheat That Springeth Green" has some sense of the change, particularly in the absolutely hilarious extended bit in which the older priest clandestinely tries to find out the name of his new assistant without letting on that he has let it escape him.
Patrick Kurp writes about a book by J. F. Powers that's `A Book You'd Be Happy to Read Again and Again'.