Propinquity Reviewed By Denise Greene of
Denise Greene

Reviewer Denise Greene: Denise is a freelance writer/editor with her own agency, Artio Media & Information. Her background is in print publishing and teaching. She has a flare for the spiritual, paranormal, religion (esp. religious history), magical realism, literary and speculative. She lives in the Siskiyou Mountains of Northern California with her partner and her kitten, Bosquette.

By Denise Greene
Published on July 19, 2013

Author: John MacGregor

Publisher: Amazon Digital Service
ISBN: 148418601X

Author: John MacGregor

Publisher: Amazon Digital Service
ISBN: 148418601X

To compare this book to the DaVinci Code or to Foucault’s Pendulum, those popular bastions of conspiratorial religious intrigue, is to do grave disservice to Propinquity. Propinquity has none of the cheap, frenetic thrills of Dan Brown’s book, nor the mind-bending (read: confusing) complexity of Eco’s Pendulum. Yet either of these books could have been inspired by Propinquity.

When I saw a brief synopsis, I wondered if it had been inspired, as were the others, by Baigent and Leigh’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail, but MacGregor’s obvious personal knowledge of the finer points of his subject matter (in terms of loft, not tedium) laid that thought to rest. Instead of an arresting display of researched knowledge, Propinquity is about knowledge of another depth altogether. Don’t be misled by various synopses; the story doesn’t jump right into the religious intrigue, it is approached stealthily, until one finds themselves in the middle of it.

Truthfully, Propinquity deserves to stand on its own merit rather than be compared to any other book. While heresy, alleged murder, and their duly inspired capers within the pages are undeniable central themes of the book, they are far from the core of the work. Given its early copyright date of 1986, part of the purpose may have been a conspiratorial revelation, but it doesn’t matter now. For today’s reader, that cat is already out of the proverbial bag. This leads deeper than surface shock, and, I suspect, that is the whole purpose.

The character development is delicious, and through it all is the thread of…well, of propinquity: proximity for all the characters, as well as for the reader, and for all threads. I wondered initially at the title, but after finishing the book, I doubt anyone could find a title more apropos.

The author conveys a bit of self-consciousness concerning the “lyric imprecision of words,” but he needn’t have worried. One senses that the message itself desired to be revealed. Yet “message” is a misnomer as there is nothing didactic about it—it is straightforward, unambiguous, and unassumingly breathtaking.

It is literate and literary, yet wholly accessible. In the beginning I found it delightfully Joyceian, but it quickly outstrips Joyce in terms of readability. This is a warm, humorous read about friendship, meaning, and self-discovery. However, adding the page-turning religious intrigue ramps it to a different level altogether, leaving you, if you wish, in a higher dimension from whence you departed.

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