Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally
A Novel

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The heroism and villainy that play out thereafter is suspenseful, if predictable. Far more powerfully felt is Fagan’s unexpected expression of thanks to Docherty, near the novel’s end, for a favor he’s done her, which has made possible both personal renewal and public justice.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From one of our greatest living writers, a bold and timely novel about sin cloaked in sacrament, shame that enforces silence, and the courage of one priest who dares to speak truth to power.

Sent away from his native Australia to Canada due to his radical preaching against the Vietnam War, apartheid, and other hot button issues, Father Frank Docherty made for himself a satisfying career as a psychologist and monk. When he returns to Australia to lecture on the future of celibacy and the Catholic Church, he is unwittingly pulled into the lives of two people—a young man, via his suicide note, and an ex-nun—both of whom claim to have been sexually abused by a prominent monsignor.

As a member of the commission investigating sex abuse within the Church, and as a man of character and conscience, Docherty decides he must confront each party involved and try to bring the matter to the attention of both the Church and the secular authorities. What follows will shake him to the core and call into question many of his own choices.

This riveting, profoundly thoughtful novel is “the work of a richly experienced and compassionate writer [with] an understanding of a deeply wounded culture” (Sydney Morning Herald). It is an exploration of what it is to be a person of faith in the modern world, and of the courage it takes to face the truth about an institution you love.
 

About Thomas Keneally

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Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published twenty-five novels since. They include Schindler’s List, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates, and Gossip from the Forest, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including his boyhood memoir Homebush Boy, The Commonwealth of Thieves, and Searching for Schindler. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney, Australia.
 
Published October 10, 2017 by Atria Books. 352 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Crimes of the Father
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Dec 22 2017

The heroism and villainy that play out thereafter is suspenseful, if predictable. Far more powerfully felt is Fagan’s unexpected expression of thanks to Docherty, near the novel’s end, for a favor he’s done her, which has made possible both personal renewal and public justice.

Read Full Review of Crimes of the Father: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Peter Stanford on Aug 13 2017

Keneally’s theme is sadly familiar, but in the hands of a world-renowned writer – still, on this evidence, at the height of his powers, and with a long record of shining a light on human frailty and injustice – Crimes of the Father goes way beyond the familiar.

Read Full Review of Crimes of the Father: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Arditti on Jun 10 2017

That Keneally has striven to be comprehensive and even-handed in his approach is somewhat to the detriment of his novel. At times it reads as if it has been merely researched rather than fully imagined...The writing is most powerful when it conveys the raw pain of the victims and the twisted psyches of their abusers...

Read Full Review of Crimes of the Father: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for Crimes of the Father
80%

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