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O'Doherty, Brian

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ISBN 10: 1885983395 / ISBN 13: 9781885983398
Published by Turtle Point Press Books & Co., New York, 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From H. W. Gumaer, Bookseller (Canandaigua, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

O'Doherty, is better known, perhaps, as the visual artist and art historian, Patrick Ireland, but it may be that this book, his second novel, shortlisted for the 2000 Booker Prize, is what he will be best remembered for. It is the story of the death of a tiny rural Irish village in 1939 just before World War II, told by the village priest in a deposition not allowed as evidence at his trial. Over the course of a terrible winter, all of the women of child-bearing age in this isolated community die, creating a shameful mystery onlly discovered years later. The story reminded more than one critic of Conrad's novella, "The Heart of Darkness." It is not an easy read but a very rewarding one. Issued without a jacket, in red laminated boards, with a black spine, and with black and white lettering set against a Celtic knot design. A touch of soiling on the text edges, o/w clean and unmarked, tight and square, not remaindered. Collectable. Bookseller Inventory # 005099

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Turtle Point Press Books & Co., New York

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Issued Without Jacket

Edition: First Edition, First Printing

About this title


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.

From the Publisher:

The following article appeared in the "Irish Times" of Friday, Oct. 20, 2000: 'Fatwa'call against Booker author withdrawn by Anne Lucey.

Kerry councillor Mr. Michael Healy-Rae has withdrawn his call for a "fatwa" on the author of a novel which has been nominated for the Booker Prize. The novel, "The Deposition of Father McGreevy", by US-based Irish author Brian O'Doherty, is one of six books nominated for the prize to be awarded on November 7th.

Mr. Healy-Rae had said the book, based on life in a village near Dingle in the 1940's, should be banned and a "Muslim-style fatwa" issued on its author. The plot of the novel concerns a village in which all the women mysteriously die, leaving the priest, Fr. McGreevy, to cope with insoluble problems.

Mr. Healy-Rae, son of the independent TD, Mr. Jackie Healy-Rae, said the novel was all about "sheep, murder and madness" and did not give a true account of life in Kerry. "The Muslims put a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for insulting them, and I am calling for a fatwa on this guy," he told local newspaper "Kerry's Eye".

However, after a conversation with the author on Joe Duffy's Liveline programme on RTf Radio yesterday, Mr. Healy-Rae said he was willing to reconsider his fatwa call. "He seems like a nice fellow," he said of Mr. Doherty, who was also interviewed on Liveline. But mr. Healy-Rae reiterated his objections to the book itself. "Of course, this book should be banned." it depicted kerry farmers "as going around after sheep with their trousers down around their ankles, groaning and grunting behind bushes."

The Dingle Book shop has sold out all of its copies of the book since it was nominated for the Booker. The owner, Ms. Joanne Wilford, said while some people liked it, "local people are taking personal umbrage to the content. But people forget this is a work of fiction".

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Harlan W. Gumaer
dba H.W. Gumaer, Bookseller
181 Gibson Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424
585 394-5886

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