The Abbey (Hardcover)

A Story of Discovery

By James Martin

HarperOne, 9780062401861, 224pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/13/2016)
Paperback, Large Print (10/13/2015)
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (10/13/2015)

List Price: 24.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In the tradition of the spiritual classics The Shack and The Screwtape Letters comes a captivating and poignant debut novel from the revered Jesuit priest and New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.

A divorced single mom, Anne can barely cope with life and struggles to make sense of the death of her young son.

A former architect with a promising career, Mark works as a handyman and wonders how his life got off track.

The abbot of the Abbey of Saints Philip and James, Father Paul sometimes questions whether he made the right decision in secluding himself so thoroughly from the world.

At this Pennsylvania abbey, this unlikely trio will discover the answers they seek—a miracle of hope and understanding that bears witness to the power of God to bring healing and wholeness to our lives.

Written with the compassion, insight, and warmth of his previous bestsellers—Jesus, Between Heaven and Mirth, and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything—Father James Martin’s debut novel is infused with deep spiritual wisdom, wry humor, and loving grace. Through his characters’ struggles, questions, and crises, we see firsthand how God uses our worries, anger, doubts, prayers, failures, and longings to help us complete ourselves and feel wholly loved.

About the Author

Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication, and author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared on all the major networks, and in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, NPR's Fresh Air, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

Praise For The Abbey: A Story of Discovery

With wit, wisdom and elegant prose, Martin has written a powerfully moving novel about (among other things) how an unbeliever can journey from suffering into spiritual practice. How it happens in an eyeblink. Another triumph from one of our best writers working like a master in a new form.
Mary Karr, author of Lit

“A sheer delight—funny, engaging, deep and moving.”
Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy

“More than a vivid portrait of a grieving mother; this tender novel shows us how, with simple words and acts, we ordinary, flawed human beings can help each other find our way to God.”
Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk

With this beautiful, touching and utterly believable novel, seekers will be gently invited to encounter the divine and believers be encouraged to deepen their relationships with God. I loved this book and loved the characters!
Richard Rohr, author of Everything Belongs

“[A] warmly comforting tale...[Father Martin’s] real strength is his pastoral sensibility-his compassion shines through the character of Father Paul. Like his fellow Jesuit Pope Francis, Martin is a persuasive evangelizer for a God, and church, of mercy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Touching, funny and beautiful. A top pick!”
RT Book Reviews

“Compassionate, engaging…with tender wit and wisdom, Martin offers an in-depth glimpse into committed religious life and how lay people can practice a devout faith amid doubt, anger and questioning.”
— Shelf Awareness

“Martin’s debut novel might be compared to Paulo Coehlo’s popular fiction…Martin’s great achievement here is that the shows how [his characters are] able to have a mystical experience of God as a result of imaginative contemplation, and he succeeds in making it seem entirely natural.”
— The Tablet

“Father Martin’s richly written tale gives us insight into the workings of a modern monastery and shows how God uses our worries, anger and doubts to help bring us to Him.”
Simple Grace Magazine

“Martin brings his characteristic ease of personality into both the characters and the prose, quickly bringing readers comfortably into the story. He handles the most delicate and painful themes with a pastoral compassion that invites readers to find hope in their own struggles.”
— The Huffington Post

— Brendan Walsh, The Tablet

“A new and improved version of those 18th-century philosophical tales such as Voltaire’s Candide or Dr. Johnson’s Rasselas. . . . What makes it an improvement is that the characters are not literary types, but recognizable persons.”
Philly Inquirer

“This is a wonderful story of love, loss and finding one’s place in religion lived out. I think we can all find ourselves in one of these characters, relating to their struggles. It’s always the mark of a good book when you are sad for it to end…inspirational reading.”
— The Catholic Newbie

“Martin applies his trademark charm, wit, and intelligence. . . . The result is a delightful and thought-provoking allegory of faith in the modern world.”
— BookMark from WPSU

“What is clear after finishing The Abbey, which this reviewer devoured in one sitting, is just how much Martin truly believes in the often repeated mantra of his nonfiction works, “With God all things are possible”... A splendid novel.”
— St. Anthony's Messenger