Set against the tumultuous backdrop of contemporary China, Larry
Lewis's autobiographical The Misfit tells a moving story of how God
breaks through the aridity of human hearts, and how healing occurs
in the midst of the everyday. Father Lewis, a Maryknoll missioner,
was estranged from himself, his church, and his Maryknoll
colleagues when he accepted an assignment to teach English to
Chinese students in the interior Chinese city of Wuhan. It was a
year before the now-infamous massacre in Tiananmen Square. The
Misfit tells how the young Chinese Lewis taught saved him from his
alienation and revealed that an important dimension in the growth
of all human beings lies in accepting their "misfitness" for the
unidimensional life that contemporary culture seeks to impose. With
the political turmoil of 1980s China always in the background,
Lewis and his Chinese students discover eternal truths through the
American literature they study and the growing bonds of friendship
they share. Reading John Gardner's "Redemption", Emily Dickinson's
poetry, and Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find", Lewis
and his students discover that they live in "a world without a
roof", and the missioner finds himself rescued from estrangement by
the humanity all around him.
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