Faith, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


One woman's search for the truth after scandal rocks her family, and the explosive family secrets she uncovers, in this complex, moving novel from award-winning author Jennifer Haigh. In Faith, Jennifer Haigh explores the repercussions of one family's history of silence, when a priest's sex scandal forces his family's untold past to surface.

Art, Sheila, and Mike are siblings in a large extended Irish-American family from the Boston suburbs.

Though their father is a non-believer, their mother is lace curtain Irish-Catholic, having raised her children to keep family secrets just that - secret - in a home where most subjects are taboo. Sheila is concerned when Art, beloved priest leading a major Catholic parish outside Boston, seems to fall off the grid just days before Easter.

Then the news breaks that he has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The media coverage shatters the community and pits Art's family members against one another, leaving Sheila determined to uncover the truth and -she hopes - clear his name. Determined to help prove Art's innocence, Sheila finds herself locking horns with her younger brother, Mike, who cannot shake the feeling that Art might be guilty.

By turns disturbed by what Art might have done and furious at the seemingly unfair accusations, the truth remains elusive for readers in this artfully crafted family drama.


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Faith is a novel about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Well no, it isn't, at least it is not a simplistic "issue" novel a la Jodi Picoult. It is a beautifully rendered depiction of a family whose default survival mechanisms are evasion and silence. There's a lot of that going around in families, yes?Art Breen is a Catholic priest accused of pedophilia by a troubled single mother. His sister Sheila, the book's narrator, has faith in his innocence; his brother Mike has serious doubts; his mother is overcome by the shame of it all. Sheila, who considers herself to have escaped her family and the larger family of Irish Catholic Boston, seeks to understand the tragedy through fractured communication with Art and with Mike, and through her mother's family stories and her own memories. The story she pieces together is subtle and multifaceted, yet leaves the reader with a feeling of resolution. It is a fast read that works as suspense, as domestic fiction and as literary fiction.

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