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Christendom College Philosophy Professor Dr. Daniel McInerny was recently featured on Word on Fire’s Evangelization & Culture podcast to discuss his acclaimed novel, The Good Death of Kate Montclair, and the profound tensions and irresistible temptations surrounding incurable illness.

Christendom College Philosophy Professor Dr. Daniel McInerny was recently featured on Word on Fire’s Evangelization & Culture podcast to discuss his acclaimed novel, The Good Death of Kate Montclair, and the profound tensions and irresistible temptations surrounding incurable illness.

McInerny released The Good Death of Kate Montclair last spring, with the book quickly being dubbed an “instant classic of 21st century Catholic fiction.” Evangelization & Culture podcast host Tod Warner explored why the book has been gripping readers since its release with McInerny, along with illuminating important habits that have helped McInerny find success both in and outside the classroom.

According to McInerny, there are three contemplative habits to cultivate during one’s entire life: daily meditative prayer with the Scriptures, reading books that challenge your mind (and not forgetting about fiction), and a mindset of childlike wonder. McInerny first wrote about these habits in a letter to his students before their graduation, but they apply to people in any walk of life.

“What’s characteristic of all three of those habits that I mentioned is that they are counteracting our digital age, which really works hard to capture and to fragment our attention,” says McInerny. “The most important way to counteract that is with Scripture, to turn off the devices, and to be in silence with Christ.”

Throughout the podcast, McInerny delves deeper into philosophy and the arts with Warner, before ultimately turning to a discussion of McInerny’s book, The Good Death of Kate Montclair.

An “enchanting, page-turning novel with real spiritual depth,” McInerny’s novel has gained acclaim as an “instant classic of 21st century Catholic fiction,” making it a must-read, gripping look at life, death, and the beauty that can come from suffering.

An “enchanting, page-turning novel with real spiritual depth,” McInerny’s novel has gained acclaim as an “instant classic of 21st century Catholic fiction,” making it a must-read, gripping look at life, death, and the beauty that can come from suffering.

In the novel, McInerny presents the story of Kate Montclair, who is dying. She has arrived at late middle age loveless, childless, and having failed to achieve the career dreams of her youth. Now diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, she sees the next fourteen months of suffering as an intolerable prospect. Kate is desperate—not only for a miracle cure, but for some sense that her life, and life itself, amounts to something more than a catastrophe. Over the course of the novel, which takes turns both humorous and tragic, Kate wrestles with the decision of whether to take her own life or remain alive to repair what she can of her past — a choice that will mean undergoing the excruciating suffering she has been so desperate to avoid.

“The reader, myself included, feels like they are being walked through an exercise in how to will the good of another, which is a profound thing to experience in a modern novel. The labor of your love is strewn throughout all the pages of this work, and I think it’s terrific,” enthused Warner.

McInerny recently wrote on J.R.R. Tolkien for Word on Fire, and, in June 2024, Word on Fire Academic will release his scholarly monograph, The Way of Beauty: A Philosophical Reflection on the Arts.

McInerny, who earned his PhD from the Catholic University of America, teaches courses on the Philosophy of Art and Beauty and Ethics and Imagination at Christendom, amongst others. When he is not teaching and mentoring his students, McInerny has been writing fiction, nonfiction, drama, and screenplays for years, including his Kingdom of Patria series for middle-grade readers (now available on Amazon). McInerny, who lives in the Shenandoah Valley, is also the frequent writer of a newsletter called “The Comic Muse,” where he imagines a renaissance in popular entertainment fueled by wonder, philosophy, and the quest for the good life. Readers can find out more here.

To purchase his newest book now, visit here.

To listen to the full podcast episode, visit here.

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