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The Brothers' Lot
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Akashic Books 2011
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Description

A "mordantly funny" novel set in a Dublin educational institution known as the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means (Publishers Weekly).
Combining the spirit of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim with a bawdy evisceration of hypocrisy in old-school Catholic education, The Brothers' Lot is a comic satire that tells the story of the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means, a dilapidated Dickensian institution run by an assemblage of eccentric, insane, and often nasty celibate Brothers. The school is in decline and the Brothers hunger for a miracle to move their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O'Rahilly, along the path to Sainthood.
When a possible miracle presents itself, the Brothers fervently seize on it with the help of the ethically pliant Diocesan Investigator, himself hungry for a miracle to boost his career. But the school simultaneously comes under threat from strange outside forces. The harder the Brothers try to defend the school, the worse things seem to get. It takes an outsider, Finbar Sullivan, a young student newly arrived at the school, to see that the source of the threat may in fact lie inside the school itself. As the miracle unravels, the Brothers' efforts to preserve it unleash a disastrous chain of events.
Tackling a serious subject through satire, The Brothers' Lot explores the culture that allowed abuses within church-run institutions in Ireland to go unchecked for decades.

"Potently conveys the anarchic spirit of schoolboy warfare."—The Irish Times
"A memorable, skillfully wrought, and evocative satire of an Ireland that has collapsed under the weight of its contradictions."—Joseph O'Connor

"Witty, brilliant, devastating."—Times Literary Supplement

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/22/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781617750205
ASIN:
B004MPRDYU
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Holohan. (2011). The Brothers' Lot. Akashic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kevin Holohan. 2011. The Brothers' Lot. Akashic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kevin Holohan, The Brothers' Lot. Akashic Books, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Holohan. The Brothers' Lot. Akashic Books, 2011. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Kevin Holohan was born in Dublin. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and a veteran of a high school education at the hands of the Christian Brothers in Dublin. His short stories have been published in Cyphers, the Sunday Tribune (Dublin), and, most recently, in Whispers and Shouts. His poetry has been published in Studies, Casablanca, Envoi, and Poetry Ireland. He has reviewed fiction for the Irish Echo in New York. For two years he was reader for the literary department of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. The Brothers' Lot is his first novel. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

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"Holohan's ability to write the kind of free-flowing naturalistic dialogue that so potently conveys the anarchic spirit of schoolboy warfare . . . is grounded by a shadow play of macabre references to horrors that ghost around the edges of the narrative, many eerily similar to some of the more infamous real life reports that have emerged in recent years."
The Irish Times
Combining the spirit of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim with a bawdy evisceration of hypocrisy in old-school Catholic education, The Brothers' Lot is a comic satire that tells the story of the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means, a dilapidated Dickensian institution run by an assemblage of eccentric, insane, and often nasty celibate Brothers. The school is in decline and the Brothers hunger for a miracle to move their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O'Rahilly, along the path to Sainthood.
When a possible miracle presents itself, the Brothers...

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title
The Brothers' Lot
fullDescription

A "mordantly funny" novel set in a Dublin educational institution known as the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means (Publishers Weekly).
Combining the spirit of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim with a bawdy evisceration of hypocrisy in old-school Catholic education, The Brothers' Lot is a comic satire that tells the story of the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means, a dilapidated Dickensian institution run by an assemblage of eccentric, insane, and often nasty celibate Brothers. The school is in decline and the Brothers hunger for a miracle to move their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O'Rahilly, along the path to Sainthood.
When a possible miracle presents itself, the Brothers fervently seize on it with the help of the ethically pliant Diocesan Investigator, himself hungry for a miracle to boost his career. But the school simultaneously comes under threat from strange outside forces. The harder the Brothers try to defend the school, the worse things seem to get. It takes an outsider, Finbar Sullivan, a young student newly arrived at the school, to see that the source of the threat may in fact lie inside the school itself. As the miracle unravels, the Brothers' efforts to preserve it unleash a disastrous chain of events.
Tackling a serious subject through satire, The Brothers' Lot explores the culture that allowed abuses within church-run institutions in Ireland to go unchecked for decades.

"Potently conveys the anarchic spirit of schoolboy warfare."—The Irish Times
"A memorable, skillfully wrought, and evocative satire of an Ireland that has collapsed under the weight of its contradictions."—Joseph O'Connor

"Witty, brilliant, devastating."—Times Literary Supplement

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      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content:

        "The mix of dire experiences that goes into the education dished out at the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means adds up to a mordantly funny debut from Dublin native Holohan."

      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Taking dead aim at the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and the atmosphere of repression that allowed abuse to flourish, this first novel uses satire to stinging effect . . . Terribly bleak and terribly funny, this skillful debut pays tribute to the irrepressible spirit of all the rebellious young boys who would not give in to authoritarian rule."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "[Holohan] 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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Times Literary Supplement
      • content: "A witty, brilliant, devastating expression of outrage. . . this novel is so subtly imagined, so elegantly structured, written in such hilarious prose but with such horrifying details, that what it offers is an overpowering, visionary judgement of a society."
      • premium: False
      • source: Brooklyn Rail
      • content: "The book is funny, fast-paced with one crisis after another, but always pulls at the heartstrings."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 14, 2011
        The mix of dire experiences that goes into the education dished out at the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means adds up to a mordantly funny debut from Dublin native Holohan. Young Finbar Sullivan, newly arrived from Cork, finds himself at the mercy of priestly pedagogues, from the scheming Brother Loughlin to the sadistic Brother Kennedy, while trying to fit in among his cynical and abused classmates. The blighted prospects of post-WWII Dublin get a lightly satirical treatment, as with the teacher who sees a chance to dispense punishment as "the best excuse for vindictiveness that had come his way," or the adviser who lists "junior clerical assistant in the Department of Fisheries" as the brightest of grim career options, but Holohan's touch gets angrier as institutional decay transforms to rot, absurdity becomes bitterness, and depictions of characters and the school itself get etched with an increasingly brutal touch. The collapse of both the Order of the Brothers of Godly Coercion and the seat of tainted education they foist on their lower-middle-class pupils are fitting revenge, and the little hope Holohan holds out lends an acid edge to this cutting depiction of a system collapsing under the weight of its own corruption.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2011

        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

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2011
        Taking dead aim at the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and the atmosphere of repression that allowed abuse to flourish, this first novel uses satire to stinging effect. At the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means in Dublin, the brothers are desperate to repair their crumbling school. Behind their vaunted piety, they are a sad and pitiful lot, with a pedophile, an alcoholic, and a sadist among them. After the midnight ramblings of the mentally unstable Brother Boland end when the ceiling collapses, the head of the school decides to claim the mishap as a miracle, thereby drawing attention and much-needed funds. But the boys who attend the school are on to the brothers game and, despite near-constant physical abuse, draw great satisfaction from discovering all the devious ways they can test their teachers patience, from deftly stonewalling academic discussions to inventing profane versions of prayers. Terribly bleak and terribly funny, this skillful debut pays tribute to the irrepressible spirit of all the rebellious young boys who would not give in to authoritarian rule.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

popularity
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