Library Journal: Starred Review of The Brothers’ Lot

http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/reviewsbook/889969-421/fiction_reviews_may_1_2011.html.csp

Holohan, Kevin. The Brothers’ Lot. Akashic. 2011. c.300p. ISBN 9781936070916. pap. $15.95. F
What is the lot of the Brothers of Godly Coercion for Young Boys of Meager Means, fraught as they are by celibacy, repression, and guilt? Sadism, masochism, child abuse, more guilt, self-flagellation, alcoholism, paranoia, chain smoking, hypocrisy, and skullduggery. The benighted brothers and a variety of generally less sadistic lay teachers operate a school that is both figuratively and literally falling apart. They need a miracle to survive, and when a statuette of their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O’Rahilly, appears to bleed after a giant structural collapse, the Brothers start a campaign to save the school by proposing him for sainthood. Eventually, by actual miracles, good triumphs over evil at scores of similar schools. VERDICT Increasingly satirical, Holohan’s writing seems informed by Frank McCourt, Flann O’Brien, and both Kingsley and Martin Amis, but he possesses his own distinct voice. Especially useful as therapy for recovering Catholics or to tweak apologists of the church, this impressive debut is highly recommended. —Jim Dwyer, Univ. of California Libs., Chico

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