Posted 20 hours ago

My Father's House: From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Star of the Sea (The Rome Escape Line, 1)

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The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice. The author’s sparing prose reflects the monotony of the coal merchant’s life, while capturing place and emotion to great effect.

My Father’s House book review: Irish priest who defied Nazis My Father’s House book review: Irish priest who defied Nazis

Many years ago I had read “Star of the Sea,” a true work of literary fiction, and was surprised that this book was written by the same author as the writing style is so different. O’Connor is playing with the possibilities of multiple narrators, and thinking also about plurality, reliability and the historical record: is a collection of witnesses more accurate than a solo narrator?People are hidden away by Mgr Hugh O’Flaherty and his network of friends, until it seems that you can’t open a coal cellar without finding a roomful of British soldiers.

My Father’s House (The Rome Escape Line Trilogy, 1)

The gargantuan efforts undertaken to achieve this were documented in the 1983 film The Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck as O’Flaherty, and in Maj Sam Derry’s memoir The Rome Escape Line (1960), a letter from which is used by O’Connor as the epigraph of his novel.O’Connor achieves this balance partly through characterisation and voices strong enough that we eagerly follow them through uncertainty, mundanity and disappointment as well as high-stakes jeopardy.

Book club: My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor Book club: My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor

If perhaps too long in places, his use of words, many not easily recognized, give the book its greater value.

Violence is indirectly conveyed in the destruction of a fine piano, the appearance of a full set of teeth.

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