The Deposition of Father McGreevy
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The Deposition of Father McGreevy

By (author) Brian O'Doherty

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In a London pub in the 1950s, editor William Maginn is intrigued by a reference to the reputedly shameful demise of a remote mountain village in Kerry, Ireland, where he was born. Maginn returns to Kerry and uncovers an astonishing tale: both the account of the destruction of a place and a way of life which once preserved Ireland's ancient traditions, and the tragedy of an increasingly isolated village where the women mysteriously die-leaving the priest, Father McGreevy, to cope with insoluble problems. Looking back in time, the book traces how, as World War II rages through Europe, McGreevy struggles to preserve what remains of his parish, and struggles against the rough mountain elements, the grief and superstitions of his people, and the growing distrust in the town below. The Deposition of Father McGreevy is a remarkable story, and a gripping exploration of both the locus of misfortune and the nature of evil. Rich in the details of Irish lore and life, its narrative evokes both a time and a place with the accuracy of a keen, unsentimental eye, and renders its characters with heartfelt depth.

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  • Hardback | 404 pages
  • 147.8 x 224.3 x 31.5mm | 666.79g
  • 10 Aug 1999
  • Turtle Point Press
  • Chappaqua
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1885983395
  • 9781885983398

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Review text

In the 1950s, William Maginn is drinking in a London pub when he hears of the strange demise of an isolated mountain village in County Kerry - the place where he was born. Returning to Kerry, Maginn realises that there is an astonishing story to be told: the sad destruction of a town which encapsulated Ireland's ancient traditions and mystery. All the women in the village have mysteriously died, with a priest, Father McCready, left to sort out the chaos. In the outer world, war rages as Maginn attempts to save what is left of the parish and deal with the distrust and superstition of the townsfolk. O'Doherty is a writer with a very individual gift, and this fascinating tale is couched in language that is both poetic and allusive. The central narrative is handled with all the authority and power one could wish for (with the editor hero Maginn sympathetically and richly drawn). But it is the elegant prose, ever involving the reader deeper and deeper in the strange, unreal situation that truly mesmerises. Whether read as a penetrating vision of a small village under threat from tension within, or as a magical and atmospheric piece of fine writing, O'Doherty's unusual book convinces on all levels. (Kirkus UK)

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