A History of Loneliness- John Boyne

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For some reason, I left this off my July monthly round-up; I read it at the start of last month and was blown away by it. I had just been teaching Boy in the Striped Pyjamas to my Year 8 class when a chance to bag a review copy of this showed up on my Twitter timeline. I’ve read one other Boyne book, an adult novel about Dr Crippen, so I thought I’d give it a go.

This is Boyne’s first book set in his native Ireland and it tells the story of Odran Yates, a man who entered the priesthood after his mother told him he had a vocation. The story takes us through facets of Odran’s life: his tragic childhood, his time at the Vatican and his struggle to accept the changes towards priests in the 21st century. Over the course of the novel, the reader goes with Odran as he deals with his past and present demons. This is not the book to take on the beach.

Although it has an intense sadness and melancholy about it, I loved the book. It’s interesting to see inside Father Yates’ mind as he comes to terms with what is happening around him. Although flawed, I found him a likeable and human character who I desperately wanted to succeed. However, like in his previous work, Boyne pulls no punches and doesn’t flinch away from unpalatable truths when they are necessary.

A beautiful novel and one that will go well with autumn evenings (it’s released on 11th September.)

*sent for review

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2 thoughts on “A History of Loneliness- John Boyne

  1. Geoff Smith says:

    Stephanie,may I say that I agree with your blog,this book is great.As a former victim of Catholic church child abuse,it really got to my soul.Please read my story,my blog,www.abusedbyrobinson.com
    In this blog,I have dealt with my experiences,of an 11 year old,abused by a trainee priest,it covers my life,the after effects of child abuse,and finally,meeting my abuser in Court,in 2010.He was jailed for 23 years,sadly,the rest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham,got away with being complicit in his 25 years on the run,hiding in LA.

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