A History of Loneliness

  • by John Boyne
  • Narrated by Gerard Doyle
  • 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The riveting narrative of an honorable Irish priest who finds the church collapsing around him at a pivotal moment in its history.
Propelled into the priesthood by a family tragedy, Odran Yates is full of hope and ambition. When he arrives at Clonliffe Seminary in the 1970s, it is a time in Ireland when priests are highly respected, and Odran believes that he is pledging his life to "the good."
Forty years later, Odran's devotion is caught in revelations that shatter the Irish people's faith in the Catholic Church. He sees his friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed, and he grows wary of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insults. At one point, he is even arrested when he takes the hand of a young boy and leads him out of a department store while looking for the boy's mother.
But when a family event opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within the church and to recognize his own complicity in their propagation, within both the institution and his own family.
A novel as intimate as it is universal, A History of Loneliness is about the stories we tell ourselves to make peace with our lives. It confirms John Boyne as one of the most searching storytellers of his generation.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Emotional and Powerful

Wow, what a compelling book ! I was completely pulled into the story, empathizing with the characters, especially Odran, the first person narrator. This is a tough topic to write about. John Boyne is a fabulous writer, and listening to this book was a very emotional experience. Excellent narration by Gerard Doyle. He really personified the character of Odran.
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- Ruth Bain

A Profound and Moving Listen

Do you recognize the author, John Boyne? He wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I did not know that when I started listening to this novel. If you are familiar with the Pajamas book or movie, you know this author does not shy away from painful or difficult subjects but at the same time can produce a thing of beauty.

This book is autobiographical fiction. The protagonist, Odran Yates, is an Irishman, who at the start of the novel, enters the seminary after his mother convinces him he has the calling to become a priest. He is most likely susceptible to this suggestion, not because he always wanted to be a priest, but because of his painful and very difficult childhood. Entering the seminary as a teenager, he shares his first room with Tom Cardle, who becomes his lifelong friend.

This book addresses pedophilia in the Roman Catholic church in Ireland. It also will give you an idea of how such atrocities could occur in what should have been such a holy environment. The knowledge will not condone such behaviors, but give a more in depth understanding of some of the mechanisms.

Father Yates sees himself, through most of the story, as very unsophisticated and naive. Sometimes, I wanted to scream at him. It is not til toward the end of the book that he realizes that he too has played a role in the atrocities. Was it naivete or just putting his head in the sand?

I found myself very much enjoying the Yates persona despite his failings. I felt many emotions as I listened to this book. It is beautifully written and packs a punch.

And of course, we all should know what a pure gem narrator Gerard Doyle is. Doyle along with author, John Boyne, give you A History of Loneliness, a truly unforgettable audiobook. Don't let preconceived notions prevent you from getting it.
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- Kathy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio