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The Big Chapel

2.65  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The Big Chapel was shortlisted for the 1971 Booker Prize and winner of 1971 the Guardian Fiction Prize. It is a novel about a man, a family and a town. Basing his work upon a notorious clerical scandal of Victorian Ireland, Thomas Kilroy has written an anatomy of religious violence that remains relevant.

In scenes that range from the private and lyrical to the panorama of a
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Mass Market Paperback, 232 pages
Published May 4th 1973 by Pan Books (first published 1971)
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Average rating 2.65  · 
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 ·  20 ratings  ·  6 reviews


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A. Mary
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish-novels
The core conflict in this novel is a religious one between competing factions in the Roman Catholic church. Father Lanigan, parish priest, defies the doctrine of ultramontanism, which places all authority in the pope. Lanigan delivers my favourite line in the book when he says that God is not in the business of interfering with nature just to keep our spirits up. The priest believes that the laws of the land must be obeyed, that local traditions must be respected. Neighbours turn on each other. ...more
Colin Davison
For all the novel's clever, contrived construction, and its concern with issues of wider relevance than for this Irish backwater town in the 1870s, I couldn't care tuppence for any of the characters, nor about the dispute over the authority of the Catholic church that drives the plot.
Events concern Father Lannigan, an obstinate, independent-minded priest who refuses to surrender to a Church order to give up his living. His defiance at first divides the town and eventually drives away all his fol
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Donal O Suilleabhain
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
A bit too grim.
Tonymess
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thomas Kilroy is a highly decorated writer having won the Guardian Prize for this novel and according to the Man Booker website his awards include “the Heinemann Award for Literature; The Aib Literary Prize; the American-Irish Foundation Award for Literature; The Rockefeller Foundation Residency; the Kyoto University Foundation Fellowship; and a Prix Nikki Special Commendation.” better known as a playwright, having ten published plays and a number of adaptations to his name.
His only novel was sh
...more
Tarah
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Kilroy is known as a contemporary Irish playwright, but his fiction is worth the time. This one was alarmingly stark, but then again, it is about the Irish religious wars... so... you know, stark fits.
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Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This historical fiction book is a difficult read. There are great sections of dialogue which are wonderful. The female characters are especially well drawn. The novel is not free flowing and lacked a heart.
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