A Novel

Book - 2011
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Jun 26, 2014

Jennifer Haigh handles a sticky issue with compassion for all those involved. A good read. Whether you are Catholic or not, this book may help you to gain a new perspective on the life of a priest in today's litigious society.

booklady413 Jan 23, 2014

This book revolves around a Catholic family in Boston during the early 21st century when many priests were defrocked and accused of child molestation. The story is told from the perspective of the sister of one such priest, Father Breen. Has he been falsely accused and judged too harshly? I found the book intriguing. Not only was it about abuse in the Catholic church but also dealt with the issue of celibacy and the priesthood, an issue that has been brought up time and time again over the years. Great read.

WMorello Aug 15, 2013

Loved this family. Really felt "inside" this one, which I never feel in my own semi-Irish family. Took the characters with me after putting it down. Really enjoyed the twists. Good storytelling.

african_violet13 Aug 09, 2013

This book was quite a drag. A few times I almost stopped reading.

simonhohlov Jul 10, 2013

i didn't read the book yet, but the librarian from Sheepshead Library said it was a great book worth checking out.

cm510 Feb 12, 2012

I found the book a little confusing until I caught on to Haigh's writing style. The characters were somewhat tragic, yet believeable. It caused me to stop and think quite often while reading.

Haigh handles a controversial subject - abuse in the Catholic churck - in an elegant and suspenseful manner.

Aug 19, 2011

Quite draggy. Very introspective, without much in the way of innovation. Yawn.

pthielan Jul 13, 2011

A touching, sensitive, revealing book about judging others, faith, and the motivation behind the decisions we make in life.

It really starts you thinking about your preconceived notions about the Church, families, and the horror that may be inflicted on the ones we are supposed to love.

Easy to read, and the characters jump to life for you.

Michael Colford Jun 27, 2011

Talented author Jennifer Haigh tackles the Catholic priest abuse scandal with grace and skill. She brings to bear her forte of family relationships to a splintered family living south of Boston. Don't be put off by a subject that you might have heard enough of, Haigh's take is refreshing and powerful.

lilylibrarian Jun 06, 2011

The spotlight fell on Roman Catholic Boston in 2002 with the priest child sex abuse scandal, and this is the setting for Jennifer Haigh's stunning new novel. Art Breen set himself on the path to priesthood at age 14, following his father's abandonment of the family, and his mother's remarriage. His middle-aged step-sister Sheila tells the story of the young priest's austere and unremarkable career. Sheila is the perfect narrator, raised by a devout mother but no longer of the church. As middle child, she has stong emotional ties to both halves of her blended family, devoted to younger brother Mike, yet loyal to Art. When Art is accused of fondling a 9 year old boy, his life, and that of his family is turned upside down. There is guilt is all quarters, but also compassion. Sheila examines the facts of Art's case with precision pacing, bringing to light not just the facts, but the souls of the people involved. A suspenseful, affecting novel, which should win Haigh wide recognition.

debwalker May 21, 2011

Your eyes might glaze over at the prospect at yet another tale of a Catholic family riven by priestly sexual misconduct. But in the hands (or word processor) of Jennifer Haigh, it takes on a subtle beauty. Sheila McGann is a middle-aged woman estranged from her Boston clan. Her brother, Father Art, has been ruined by accusations of abuse. Sheila makes a wonderful and subtle narrative voice; the internal metronome of this non-believer moves between faith and doubt as she tries to make sense of Art’s life, and her own. Haigh’s fourth novel (Mrs. Kimble won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction) is both unsettling and very rewarding.

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