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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Odran Yates enters Clonliffe Seminary in 1972 after his mother informs him that he has a vocation to the priesthood. He goes in full of ambition and hope, dedicated to his studies and keen to make friends.

Forty years later, Odran’s devotion has been challenged by the revelations that have shattered the Irish people’s faith in the church. He has seen friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed and has become nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insulting remarks.

But when a family tragedy opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within a once respected institution and recognise his own complicity in their propagation.

It has taken John Boyne 15 years and 12 novels to write about his home country of Ireland, but he has done so now in his most powerful novel to date, a novel about blind dogma and moral courage and about the dark places where the two can meet. At once courageous and intensely personal, A History of Loneliness confirms Boyne as one of the most searching chroniclers of his generation.

©2014 John Boyne (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Utterly compelling

Engaging from the opening paragraph, this is a story that in part highlights how the abuse of power occurs not just through "structures" and "bad people", but also through the inaction, & naivety of "nice" & "good people".....too afraid to really see and speak out..... Truth, fear, complicity, conformity, are all powerful themes of this beautifully written novel.

9 people found this helpful

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Another storming Success

I was that obsessed with this book I haven't listened to music in the car for a couple of weeks... Totally engrossed, great story which resonated with me for personal reasons. I totally identified with this story, which made it a difficult and frustrating read at times... Because it was so on the money, John Boyne is definitely my favourite author at the moment.

5 people found this helpful

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Read this book in less than a week

Only slight criticism is that the stuff at the Vatican feels a little far fetched. Great story teller and a gripping story. Very sobering in parts. Recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow! Absolutely Amazing

Such a fabulous story, beautifully written and narrated- I have laughed and cried at this book and I honestly cant recommend highly enough.

2 people found this helpful

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A Perfect Read and Listen

I have read this book twice and listened twice. I have the book in print, and also kindle. Wonderful writing. Thankyou John Boyne.

2 people found this helpful

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The complicity of silence


What John Boyne has written here is phenomenal, it powerfully lays open the complicité silence of the Catholic Church and its effects on those in and outside the church.
The story is about Father Audren but starts predating his birth and how his parents got to together and then became a family of five.
Audren’s life in the church comes about by the death of his fathers when his mother seeks solace in religion.and ultimately influences Audren to join the Catholic Church at the seminary for his religious training.
Going back and forth over the years, it shows the high esteem the people of Ireland had for the Catholic Church had and over time how this was eroded.
Audren spends time completing his religious studies in the Vatican City in Rome but ultimately his roots are in Ireland.
Throughout the book the lives of Audren’s immediate family and friends are woven and there influence on his life.
As I said before this is a powerful book and Audren’s life although fictitious really puts the Catholic Church and its people in the spotlight for their refusal to recognize what was staring them in the face.
I highly recommend this book and also John Boynes other book The hearts invisible furies.

1 person found this helpful

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Will stay with me for a long time

Another wonderful read from John Boyne. Hard to listen to due to the very real situation of institutional abuse, but the characters were so real in their flaws, that I was totally in their stories with them. This is the second novel I’ve read by John Boyne and I’m seeing a theme of redemption emerging, with the honest portrayal of ‘warts and all’.

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Brilliant and devastatingly sad

John Boyne is an incredible story teller. What a journey. I laughed and cried and couldn't stop listening. This is a book that everyone needs to read or listen to. Read beautifully by Owen McConnell.

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A sobering read - acts of omission writ large.

Human pain and suffering is a key feature of this book. The church in Ireland a central player in that. This book is a commentry on on the role of the church as a force of control and censure - hopefully now a spent force.

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Amazing

I loved this book. It was hard hitting and I cried in places. John Boyne does such interesting and rich characters. The main character is infuriating and yet you also feel for him. It’s left me with a lot to think about.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-21

Absolutely brilliant

John Boyne is one of my favourite authors.
His writing is sublime.
I could not stop listening to this incredible story, brought to life so perfectly, by the reader, Owen McDonnell.
The Catholic Church, provides a highly thought provoking and horrifying central theme to the plot.
Highly recommended.