A History of Loneliness

A History of Loneliness

Book - 2014
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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.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2014
ISBN: 9780385683302
Branch Call Number: FIC Boyne
Characteristics: 380 p. ; 21 cm


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Jul 06, 2018

Here John Boyne tackles the Irish Catholic Church and Celibate Priests. Father Yates, informed by his Mother he has a calling and will become a priest, struck me as particularly naive when wondered why his old friend was constantly on the move, from one parish to the next. Ultimately we are left believing he has been lying to himself. But I can half understand the deception. Some of us wouldn't wish to enquire too deeply into certain circumstances either. Despite this slight annoyance, a great read and one I ploughed through and then started on his other novels. I like his style.

Nov 12, 2017

Another wonderful read from John Boyne. This time he tackles the theme of loneliness and explores the theme of those who turn a blind eye to others' tragedies through the lifetime of an Irish priest. Are those who observe or turn their backs ultimately as culpable as those who commit the acts of abuse?

Aug 27, 2017

A very delicate theme... The book was really well written and if you are brave enough you should read about this painful journey

Jun 08, 2015

Remarkable. Highly recommended.

brianreynolds May 03, 2015

The title of John Boyne's A History of Loneliness must have reminded me of Nicole Krauss' very excellent The History of Love or I might have passed it over. Hard to see how a title like that would attract much of an audience. In the end, quite aside from the wrenching power of both and beautiful writing in both, the two books share a curious relationship in their naming. While Krauss' novel was really about loneliness and the will to somehow overcome it, Boyne's is really about love, the courage to express it in a very cynical world, the courage to understand it in spite of brutal circumstance, the courage to accept it when faced with its numerous perversions. Aside from the titles, both books are set against the backdrop of unspeakable tragedy: the Holocaust in one and a predatory Catholic Church in the other, and both authors find a memorable character to star in an epic drama. My good fortune: I was shamefully ignorant of both authors until I read these two fine works—neither of them, thankfully, all that historical. And (while I'm at it) both both provide a little challenge to the reader in terms of organization; it's not that events are presented in a random manner, but that the authors know that life isn't necessarily organized particularly well in terms of time or space, and that emotions and motives can be a better way to order things.

Apr 29, 2015

I have a particular weakness for Irish writers and John Boyne proves once again why.
He takes familiar and recent themes and makes the prose just shine. Another great story-teller.

Feb 11, 2015

Very interesting voice and point of view, and a very good read overall.

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