This Month's MagazineDining and SpiritsArts and EntertainmentTravel and LeisureHome and Real EstateHealth and WellnessShopping & FashionEvents and PicsElegant Wedding Magazine

Bookmark and share

Issue Date: January 2013


Original Sins

Kevin P. Keating draws on his time at St. Ignatius to provide the setting for his darkly brilliant novel.
Barry Goodrich

Reprobates abound at a Jesuit prep school in a dying, industrial city — chain-smoking, ale-guzzling priests, a star quarterback whose brutal hangover costs his team the Holy War, a head coach with a gambling problem, a failed writer and an oversexed teacher. Then, there’s Zanzibar Towers and Gardens, a flophouse where students and alums hang out with prostitutes.

Kevin P. Keating’s The Natural Order of Things (Aqueous Books, $14) is a darkly brilliant, sometimes disturbing odyssey that lays bare the human condition. Keating, an English professor at Baldwin-Wallace University and Cleveland State University, has crafted a novel in the tradition of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio with 15 interconnected stories featuring characters who “revel in self-debasement, which they mistake for virtue.”

It’s not much of a leap to identify St. Ignatius as the inspiration for the setting of Keating’s novel. The 41-year-old author is an alumnus of the Cleveland all-boys Catholic high school where he first started writing. “Everybody else in my family went to St. Edward. I was the only smart one,” he laughs.

Keating, who worked as a boilermaker, bookie’s apprentice, maintenance man, landscaper and painter while he attended college at night, says The Natural Order of Things is the result of dozens of short stories with a common thread, all of which had been previously published in literary journals.

“I think this is a pretty honest book,” says Keating, whose influences include Stanley Kubrick, H.P. Lovecraft and Oscar Wilde. “Some of it is outrageous, but deep down there is a lot of truth to it. I’ve always been fascinated with what happens when the secular world meets the religious world. I tried to make this book as vivid as I could.”

One of the final chapters of the novel, “The Black Death of Gentile da Foligno,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by author Thomas E. Kennedy. The novel has also drawn advance praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Robert Olen Butler.

“This is really the same kind of bizarre and creepy stuff I was writing at St. Ignatius when I was 16,” Keating says. “All of my friends are terrified it’s going to be about them. Half the [Ignatius] people who read this will be with me, and the other half will want my head on a platter.”


Comments. All comments must be approved by our editorial staff.
 
Choose an identity
Other Anonymous
 
Name 
Website 
All of these fields are optional.
CAPTCHA Validation
Retype the code from the picture
CAPTCHA Code Image
Speak the code Change the code
 


Home | Subscribe | Archives | Advertise | Newsstands | Contact Us | Jobs | Legal
© Cleveland Magazine 2014 | P: (216) 771-2833 | F: (216) 781-6318 | 1422 Euclid Ave. Suite 730 Cleveland, Ohio 44115
This site is a member of the City & Regional Magazine Association