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A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
  

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An exposé of the extent of the child abuse amidst the catholic clergy as we follow the life of Odran from 10 to 60. Training as a priest he goes to Rome and then eventually to a boys’ school in Ireland. He, possibly subconsciously, ignores all the sins around him until eventually he questions his own calling. This is a powerful book that treats scandalous issues with great honesty. It pulls no punches and is open in condemning the abuse, which was rife, especially in Ireland, and the corruption in the Vatican – involving financial fraud and even the alleged murder of the Pope. However, Odran’s message is that there are still good men in the priesthood and that the church still has an important role. The book jumps about in time a good deal which I found an excellent device to allow the reader to understand Adran’s point of view and his final decision. A very fine book indeed. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like John Boyne you might also like to read books by Alan Hollinghurst, Robert Goddard and Sebastian Faulks.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Forty years after he entered a Catholic seminary in Ireland in the 1970s, aged seventeen, we meet Father Odron Yates reeling from revelations of sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Odron is a good man, dedicated to his life in the priesthood, but is he in denial, or does he just not want to face the truth? Boyle’s harrowing and powerful novel throws up many painful issues. Partly a shocking denunciation of the Catholic Church, it also looks at the root cause of the abuse, and at those whose faith is so strong that despite knowing the facts, they will keep events hidden…for the love of God.
~ The Good Book Guide

Synopsis

A History of Loneliness by John Boyne

Odran Yates enters Clonliffe Seminary in 1972 after his mother informs him that he has a vocation to the priesthood. He goes in full of ambition and hope, dedicated to his studies and keen to make friends. Forty years later, Odran's devotion has been challenged by the revelations that have shattered the Irish people's faith in the church. He has seen friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed and has become nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insulting remarks. But when a family tragedy opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within a once respected institution and recognise his own complicity in their propagation. It has taken John Boyne fifteen years and twelve novels to write about his home country of Ireland but he has done so now in his most powerful novel to date, a novel about blind dogma and moral courage, and about the dark places where the two can meet. At once courageous and intensely personal, A History of Loneliness confirms Boyne as one of the most searching chroniclers of his generation.


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Reviews

'An urgently compelling story of power, corruption, lies and self-deceits, the damage that happens when we turn our eyes from wrong. Anyone who wants to know what happened in the Irish Catholic Church needs to read this brave, righteously angry and stunning book. Some of us have long wondered what it would be like if a master storyteller turned his powers to this theme. Now we know.' -- Joseph O'Connor

'John Boyne has plunged into the dark and troubled history of the Catholic Church in our time and come up with a novel to treasure. Unflinching, moving and true' John Banville

'The complex architecture of this haunting novel is seamlessly constructed. The path to the priesthood that Odran Yates follows is both understandable and sympathetic. And Father Yates is a good man; he is innocent of the false accusations made against him (he's not a pedophile). But as this author accomplished, so masterfully, in The Absolutist, John Boyne has created a character who holds himself accountable- in the case of Father Yates, for the sins of others. No writer today handles guilt with as much depth and sadness as John Boyne. As Father Yates takes himself to task for all he didn't do, no less than the sexual duplicity and cover-ups of the Catholic Church are indicted. This is John Boyne's most important novel, and of vital importance to Irish history; it is also a gripping story, one no reader can put down until its devastating ending.' -- John Irving

'Gripping, harrowing and extremely moving...A painfully page-turning read...A vividly three-dimensional dissection of bothe the priesthood and the larger cultural malaise of Ireland' -- Phil Baker Sunday Times

About the Author

John Boyne

John Boyne was our Guest Editor in May 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His early writing consisted mostly of short stories and he published a number of them. His first story, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, he has published about 70 short stories.

He has published seven novels: THE THIEF OF TIME (2000), THE CONGRESS OF ROUGH RIDERS (2001), CRIPPEN (2004), THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS (2006), NEXT OF KIN (2006), MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (2008) and THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE (2009).

His 2006 novel, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies and was the 6th highest selling novel of 2008.

His novels are published in 42 languages.

He lives in Dublin.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2015

Author

John Boyne

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Author's Website

www.johnboyne.com/

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Publisher

Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
480 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780552778435

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