In a London pub in the 1950's, editor William Maginn is intrigued by a mention a the strange - and reputedly shameful - demise of a remote mountain village in County Kerry, where he was born.
Maginn returns to Kerry and uncovers an astonishing tale: both the account of the destruction of a place and the way of life which once preserved Ireland's ancient traditions and the tragedy of an increasingly isolated village where all the women mysteriously die - leaving the priest, Father McGreevy, to cope with insoluble problems.
As war rages through Europe, McGreevy struggles to preserve what remains of his parish, against the rough mountain elements and the grief and superstitions of its people, and the growing distrust of the town below.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 314 pages
- Publisher: Arcadia Books
- Publication Date: 19/04/2000
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781900850483
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by bcquinnsmom
I will be quite honest and up front by telling you that this book is weird. The subject matter is definitely most bizarre, and if you are uptight (how's that for the roots of my 70s upbringing?) about strange sexual practices don't bother to open the book."The Deposition of Father McGreevy" takes place in County Kerry. Although it opens in the present, with a writer who gets wind of this bizarre story, the flashback goes to the beginning of World War II. Overall, what we are examining in this particular story is symbolic; the village under study here, up in the hills is a symbol of other once peaceful, agricultural villages that meet their decline in the face of the importance of towns & cities. Sadly, along with the decline of the village went the loss of tradition, folklore, original native beliefs, etc.Father McGreevy's story, and indeed that of the village, is told through his deposition to the courts at a trial of which have no information until the end of the story. What we know is that the priest has lived in this village and served the people for 30 years, and that the bishop of his area has decided it is time to close up the church in the village in the hills & for Father McGreevy to become an assistant to a canon down in the town. The townspeople have a dislike and distrust of the hill/village people; at the beginning of his story McGreevy describes an incredibly harsh winter that affected the village and afflicted the women with some bizarre type of disease that killed them all off. By all, I meant 5; that's how small the village was. Down below, in the town, no one cared enough to send up supplies or to even go up and ascertain the condition of the villagers; so it is not until late spring that the town gets wind of what happened. A) the townspeople feel guilty as this situation makes them look bad; B) the incident leaves the townspeople suspicious and even more so when Father McGreevy adamantly refuses to let the health officials do autopsies to find out how the women died.During the deposition, the reader finds out about some pretty bizarre stuff that happens in the village during the 2nd harsh winter up on the mountain; I won't give it away in case anyone wants to read this. However, the incidents are related by a villager who has decided to marry above him and live in the town, turning his back on his history & people; he sets into motion events which highlight the suspicious nature of the town regarding the villagers & no one is spared.Personally, I can't see why this book was shortlisted for the Booker; it's like I always say -- just because a book ends up on some shortlist for an award or for that matter, wins the award itself, it doesn't mean that the book is good. This book was a little slow to get into, and kind of dragged along. The writing was good, I'll give it that much.