"O’Hare has a pleasant, easy-to-read writing style. The topic of sexual abuse is dealt with sensitively. There are no attention-seeking graphic descriptions. The flashbacks of child sex abuse and the depictions of the depression, guilt and breakdown after a rushed abortion are particularly well done. I found the court sequences to be believable and compelling. This is definitely an author with natural storytelling ability." Ellen Gable Hrkach, Reviewer, Catholic Fiction
“A story that is both current and gripping. It has distinctive and credible dialogue and beautifully forged characters. It is clear that the writer is a keen observer of human nature. I genuinely enjoyed reading this book.” John Anthony, Publisher, Pink Cloud.
“I absolutely loved this story. The author is a fantastic writer and really takes the readers into the characters’ lives—into their minds. I could feel the pain, the depression, the confusion, the guilt. As wrong as everything was, I couldn’t help but hold my breath for the main character, wanting the best for him.” Jalpa Williby, Author of Chaysing Dreams
Review by GJ, Feb 2016
I will admit to feelings of dismay and reluctance when I first began to read this book. The acknowledgements and the prologue indicated that it was to be about a young Catholic priest in Ireland. While I always attempt to remain neutral and objective in my reviews of books, I find that also being honest will often lend itself to accumulate too much cynicism when I’m reading books about religion, particularly books containing too much religiosity. Thankfully, Brian O’Hare’s novel was gripping from the first few pages and so well written, with balance and tactful insight, that I was able to retain my respect for another person’s religious beliefs while entering the curious world of Irish Catholicism.
Fallen Men is an excellent novel about the fragility and emotions of real people. It is a story about a priest, Ray Canavan, who makes a serious mistake when he becomes involved with Maria, a young student from a local girls’ school. She reminds him strongly about Karen, the woman he could have married had he not become devoted to God and the Church. There is much in Ray’s past life to discover and explain about his intense feelings of guilt, his vulnerability as a sensitive human being, and his apparent human frailty at a deeply emotional time in his life.
The reader is easily swayed between condemning Ray one moment, as the responsible adult, and the next sympathising with his inner child, with heart-felt sadness. There are several serious issues discussed and considered in the novel, such as abuse, abortion and faith, notwithstanding the intricacies of certain aspects of Irish Law. We are present during several court scenes and witness various conflicts between an individual’s duty to God, the Church and one’s humanity. Each of these concepts is handled so well by the author, within such beautiful dialogue and description that I was often left in awe, so full of admiration was I for the writing on the pages before me. Ray’s close friends, Dan and Tony, as well as Maria and Mrs Toner, the housekeeper are all characters well drawn and easily identifiable.
I would never, ever, have thought beforehand that a book tackling the religious issues in this novel could make me stick with it so intensely. It is a page-turner in the highest sense of the word and for me rates alongside books by Orwell, Dickens, Angelou, Steinbeck and Harper Lee etc. Highly recommended.
I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest and objective review.