Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FAITH by Jennifer Haigh

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

In Sheila McGann's Irish-Catholic family, it is still an honor to have a priest in the family.  Her older half-brother, Art, is a popular priest in a large Boston parish.  It is 2002 and the wave of Catholic priest abuse cases has hit. It does not pass by the McGann family.  Sheila comes home to discover that Art has been accused of molesting a young boy.  As she rushes to her brother's defense, Sheila's mother is in denial, her brother Mike has already damned Arthur in his heart and her brother Art won't defend himself.  Sheila takes it upon herself to interview everyone related to the case in order to find out the truth and finds out many long-buried family secrets as she discovers that the truth can be the most complicated thing of all.

This is a powerful book that reminded me a great deal of Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER.  As readers, we are confronted again and again with our own assumptions about what really happened.  Haigh keeps you guessing until the end.  It is not so much a story about a priest and an accusation as it is a story about a family and that family's secrets.  It is also a story about our society and the consequences of what we as a people have become.  Haigh does an excellent job letting the reader see all sides to this story and how everyone is affected.  It is a thoughtful and moving work.

BOTTOM LINE:  Highly recommended.  An incredibly moving and thoughtful story that you will want to discuss with others.  This would be a great book club selection as it is sure to generate lots of talk!

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