Thursday, August 16, 2007

BE NEAR ME by Andrew O'Hagan (2006)

I've been a fan of O'Hagan's fiction since OUR FATHERS and quickly grabbed PERSONALITY when it was released and now BE NEAR ME which is the most sophisticated narrative of the three. It is O'Hagan's deftness with diction, dialogue and character development that makes BE NEAR ME such a compelling read.

Middle-aged RC priest Father David Anderton has a small parish in Scotland where he is viewed as an outsider, having been raised in Yorkshire and schooled at Oxford. He befriends local troublemaking teens Mark and Lisa and tries to open up their world by guiding them through unimaginable experiences (to them) like taking a boat to Ailsa Craig, a bird sanctuary beyond their ken.

Father David is haunted by his past sadness and in a daring moment of a kiss, time bends in on itself and he finds himself struggling for belief in a faithless age.

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