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A History of Loneliness
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Previous Quarterly Reads > May - Jul: A History of Loneliness

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Emma Flanagan (emma89) This is the discussion thread for our quarterly read A History of Loneliness


Emma Flanagan (emma89) For those participating in this quarterly read I think the mass market paperback is out on May 7th.


Allan For any UK / Ireland readers, I see that Tesco have the book on sale at £3.79 at present.


Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments That's a good thing for readers, and will sell more books. I wonder how publishers can do this though.
I am holding off commenting on the book until more folks are reading it. I have loads to say though.


Susan | 4707 comments I think this is such a great book. Colleen, thank you for nominating it. I thought Allan had until I realized it was set in Dublin. Allan's nominations are usually in Belfast or NYC. I wish I had bought it instead of getting it at the library. There are tons of places I would underline and then badger you guys with questions.

My main question, is this accurate? Were priests really treated so badly? We had lots of pedophile priests but I don't remember them getting treated badly as a class of people.


message 6: by Emma (last edited May 18, 2015 06:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) You'll just have to note the sections instead Susan and ask us :-).

I haven't read it yet so I can't tell you it whether its accurate, but I assume you are referring to abuse some priests received from the public in the wake of everything. I know that when it initially broke there was a huge backlash against the church and a lot of people have completely lost faith in them. The Church was untouchable in Ireland, they were held up as like God, so the revelation of everything they did really hit people. Whether a priest was involved in or not, the sense is the church as a whole was complicit and corrupt. It didn't help that they've been slow to own up. Some priests on the ground did come in for some abuse. I have heard that some younger priests now prefer to wear normal clothes unless they are out on parish business.


Susan | 4707 comments Thank you, Emma. Yes, there was a lot of outrage here when people found out that the church knew about the pedophile priests and just kept moving them around, in effect hiding them. The covering up was the very worst betrayal of all.

Now that I am almost finished, I am disliking this priest a little more. His claim of his innocence was just an excuse for closing his eyes and not dealing with things. I will continue soon on the spoiler thread.


Emma Flanagan (emma89) Just finished this. I'm gathering my thoughts before writing a review or diving into the spoiler thread. Question though, because I can't remember, has any priest in Ireland actually been convicted? I know we've had the reports and inquiries, the redress scheme for the institutions etc but I can't remember any priest actually standing trial.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Emma,

Not in the 80's but in the last number of years a good few.

I not sure about how I feel about the story so far.

As a Leitrim woman I would have to disagree with the author on his way of describe the women of Leitrim in 1980.


message 10: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) I remember the inquiries into the abuse but I honestly can't remember any cases of priests standing trial. I've clearly just blanked cos it would have been a huge deal...like putting a banker on trial


message 11: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) When you say your not sure how you feel about it, do you mean you aren't enjoying it?


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 03, 2015 05:35AM) (new)

Emma wrote: "When you say your not sure how you feel about it, do you mean you aren't enjoying it?"

No I am enjoying the book its hard to put down :-), its more of the content that I am finding Hard. I be honest never read anything like it before and scared to think that is how people where back then


message 13: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 03, 2015 05:30AM) (new)

Emma wrote: "I remember the inquiries into the abuse but I honestly can't remember any cases of priests standing trial. I've clearly just blanked cos it would have been a huge deal...like putting a banker on trial"

Yes some of the priest got jail and others who where to old to go in I think got bail I could be wrong on that.
I found a link where some preist got time.
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/referen...

As for the Bankers we should have white collar crime in Ireland these men and women get to walk free its madding. but thats for another day and another book :-)


message 14: by Serf (new) - added it

Serf http://www.southernstar.ie/News/Pries...
I found this article Emma but like you I haven't heard of too many getting jailed. Even in this case it's only for 1 year. Ridiculous sentencing


message 15: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) I know what you mean Kazzy. It is a heavy book. Glad we're helping you to read outside your comfort zone. :-)

Kazzy the articles in that link appear to relate to cases outside of Ireland. Within Ireland I can't think of a single conviction.


message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) Only 1 yr. You'd get longer for not having a TV licence.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma wrote: "I know what you mean Kazzy. It is a heavy book. Glad we're helping you to read outside your comfort zone. :-)

Kazzy the articles in that link appear to relate to cases outside of Ireland. Within I..."


Yes it great and I am enjoying what I have read so far :-)


Donna McCaul Thibodeau (celtic_donna) | 1141 comments I found this to be slow going at first, and I was hesitant to read it because I have personal experience of a priest (Irish but it happened in America) who tried to molest me as a girl. However, now that I'm truly into the story, I find it hard to put down and will finish it today.

Tough subject matter, to be sure.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry to hear that Donna , and I agree it's very hard subject to speak on also to read, but agree it's a good story and hard to put down hoping to finish it today too


Cathleen | 2409 comments I'm not well enough into it to jump over to the spoiler thread yet, but so far, I'm "enjoying" the book (if that's the right word to use). Odran is a fascinating character so far, to be sure. He reminds me of Alfred Prufrock or of the main character in The Remains of the Day--always observing and feeling, but rarely saying anything or involving himself. He seems to be a spectator of his own life, but I'll see how that goes as I get further along. I've never read anything of John Boyne's before. I'm so impressed by his writing--so many sentences that contain worlds of meaning in a phrase or two. What a talented writer.


Susan | 4707 comments I was so surprised how good his writing is too. I had never read him before this book. I told Allan is like taking a shower in excellent writing. It just runs all over you.


Cathleen | 2409 comments Susan wrote: "I was so surprised how good his writing is too. I had never read him before this book. I told Allan is like taking a shower in excellent writing. It just runs all over you."

Susan, that is a wonderful way of describing his writing. It's so effortless to read that I'm halfway into a scene before I start thinking about the implications of what's happening between Odran and whomever else. Whenever I have that experience, of "effortless" reading, I know I'm in for something special.


Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments I am a big fan of Boyne and think he is under appreciated. I have seen him twice at Politics and Prose.


message 24: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) Considering he wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas you'd think he would have become better known by now outside of Ireland.


Susan | 4707 comments You would think so. I am on a one woman mission to encourage everyone to read this lovely book.


Cathleen | 2409 comments Emma wrote: "Considering he wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas you'd think he would have become better known by now outside of Ireland."

I have seen The Boy in the Striped Pajamas all over the place in recent years. I think it's included in school curricula here. It seems to be very popular among students. So, I think he's somewhat well-known for that book.


message 27: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) It is a popular book to do in school. I think a lot of primary schools do it now or secondary schools when the kids are in first yr.


message 28: by Serf (new) - added it

Serf My son read the boy in striped pj's this year in 6th class.


message 29: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Flanagan (emma89) Interesting article in The Irish Times discussing priests in Irish Literature.

Faith in our fathers: can you believe in fictional priests?
via The Irish Times
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/boo...


message 30: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I thought the priests in Strumpet City were done well. They were varied, flawed but not caricatures but then I'm not a priest so what do I know? : )


Allan Emma wrote: "I remember the inquiries into the abuse but I honestly can't remember any cases of priests standing trial. I've clearly just blanked cos it would have been a huge deal...like putting a banker on trial"

I saw this in the news this morning and, as it was the case that really opened the door when it came to exposing clerical abuse in Ireland, I thought I'd add it to the thread for reference.

HIA inquiry to examine Father Brendan Smyth crimes - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern...


Allan Further to my post above, there are more revelations about just how much the police and church knew about abuse as far back as the 1970s, thanks to the ongoing enquiry up here. Two articles are included below.

Historical Abuse Inquiry: Irish police 'aware' of Smyth abuse in 1970s - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern...

Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: Cardinal Seán Brady admits 'shroud of secrecy' over Church sex abuse inquiry - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern...


Cathleen | 2409 comments Allan wrote: "Further to my post above, there are more revelations about just how much the police and church knew about abuse as far back as the 1970s, thanks to the ongoing enquiry up here. Two articles are inc..."

Thanks, Allan. It's staggering news. It's also remarkable how many times we hear or read of instances where those in power exert all their power to cover things up. And sooner or later, the coverup always gets disovered.


Susan | 4707 comments It will be interesting to see if the new Papal tribune will investigate the Irish situation.


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