Cover image for A history of loneliness
Title:
A history of loneliness
Author:
Boyne, John, 1971- , author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
Physical Description:
337 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"An honorable Irish priest ... finds the church collapsing around him at a pivotal moment in its history. Propelled into the priesthood by a family tragedy, Odran Yates is full of hope and ambition. When he arrives at Clonliffe Seminary in the 1970s, it is a time in Ireland when priests are highly respected, and Odran believes that he is pledging his life to 'the good.' Forty years later, Odran's devotion is caught in revelations that shatter the Irish people's faith in the Catholic Church. He sees his friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed, and grows nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insults"--
General Note:
"A novel"--Jacket.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374171339
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The riveting narrative of an honorable Irish priest who finds the church collapsing around him at a pivotal moment in its history

Propelled into the priesthood by a family tragedy, Odran Yates is full of hope and ambition. When he arrives at Clonliffe Seminary in the 1970s, it is a time in Ireland when priests are highly respected, and Odran believes that he is pledging his life to "the good."
Forty years later, Odran's devotion is caught in revelations that shatter the Irish people's faith in the Catholic Church. He sees his friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed, and grows nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insults. At one point, he is even arrested when he takes the hand of a young boy and leads him out of a department store looking for the boy's mother.
But when a family event opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within the church, and to recognize his own complicity in their propagation, within both the institution and his own family.
A novel as intimate as it is universal, A History of Loneliness is about the stories we tell ourselves to make peace with our lives. It confirms Boyne as one of the most searching storytellers of his generation.


Author Notes

Acclaimed Irish novelist John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland on April 30, 1971. He studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He has written dozens of short stories and many novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. An award-winning film adaptation of this work was released in 2008. In 2015 his title, A History of Lonelines made The New Zealand Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) explores the tumultuous history of the priesthood in the Irish church. Father Odran Yates narrates from when his mother told him he ought to take vows through the present day. For many years, Odran has taught and cared for the library at Terenure College in Dublin, going about his days in near ignorance of church politics. He is without ambition and often exasperatingly naïve. He insists that he enjoys his life, despite one painfully botched and shameful romantic interest. When string of priests are convicted of sexually harassing young boys in their congregations, Odran pushes away the news for as long as he can, despite increasingly aggressive and pointed public response. Then he tries to return a boy that's been separated from his mother in a department store, and the Garda detain him, accusing Odran of attempting to kidnap the child. When an old roommate resurfaces, Odran must face his own denial and the pain it's caused. The book sags during conversations with formulaically villainous clergymen but is otherwise a quietly enlightening meditation on how the Irish Catholic church has let down its congregations. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Chaplain at a Dublin boys' school since his ordination, Fr. Odran Yates lives an uncomplicated life. He never doubts his vocation and remains removed from the politics of parish ministry and church administration. After 28 years of quiet stability, however, Yates is forced by the archbishop to take a parish position, substituting for a priest accused of long-term, systematic sexual abuse. The accused cleric himself recommends Yates as his replacement because they were seminary roommates. The tale Yates narrates is a chilling confession of years of emotional distance and self-delusion. In the end, he recognizes a path to some sort of redemption, but will he take it? VERDICT Best known for the YA novel The Boy in Striped Pajamas, Boyne here offers his eighth novel for adults and the first set in his native Ireland. In the person of Father Yates, he unsparingly explores a devastating subject: how the negligence and complicity of clergy and parishioners in Ireland have facilitated sex-scandal cover-ups and misinformation overseen from the highest levels of the Catholic Church. The result reads like a modern existential fable, raising questions that will remain with readers long after they put it down. [See Prepub Alert, 8/11/14.]-John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.