Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Beautiful. This was literary fiction at its best for me - beautiful writing that is accessible and engrossing at the same time. This isn't one that you'll struggle to get through, but it's also not one that sacrifices characterization or depth for the sake of plot. You spend the majority of the story not knowing if Father Art is guilty or innocent, but that isn't the major focus of the book. You get inside the characters heads through Sheila, although at the beginning she admits that she is reconstructing events the way she imagines they occurred in some cases. I liked not having an omniscient narrator and only knowing what Sheila knows and filling in the blanks as she fills them in. I cared deeply about each character and was fascinated to see the ways they dealt with the issue guilt and belief in the face of this enormous test of faith.
Completely engrossing. I couldn't put it down. It's not an easy read, but it's also not so difficult that you feel like it's dragging. I read it over the course of two days because I couldn't put it down. The issue of whether or not Father Art is guilty is intriguing, but I was more interested in the development of the characters and how each character's own faith was highlighted and tested throughout the book.
This was my first five star book of the year. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read it because I was starting to worry that I was in a slump. I've had trouble concentrating on the books I've read so far this year, but this was the exception. I was into the story and the characters through the entire book and couldn't get enough. I highly recommend this to all readers, even if you aren't typically interested in literary fiction. This is a good one to start with if you don't usually read in the genre because it does have an intriguing plot. I also loved that the author addressed the issue of religious faith from multiple points of view without expressing her own biases. I doubt it would ever happen because of the language used in the book (several uses of the "f word") but I'd love to see this book sold in Christian bookstores.
Thank you to Trish at TLC for including me on the tour. Click here to see a list of other reviews from the tour.
Posted by Julie G at 9:45 AM