A History of Loneliness

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
The life of a good priest in Ireland over the past 50 years provokes one of John Boyne's most powerful novels yet.
   Odran Yates enters Clonliffe Seminary in 1972 after his mother informs him that he has a vocation to the priesthood. He goes in full of ambition and hope, dedicated to his studies and keen to make friends.
     Forty years later, Odran's devotion has been challenged by the revelations that have shattered the Irish people's faith in the church. He has seen friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed and has become nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insulting remarks.
     But when a family tragedy opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within a once respected institution and recognise his own complicity in their propagation.
    It has taken John Boyne fifteen years and twelve novels to write about his home country of Ireland but he has done so now in his most powerful novel to date, a novel about blind dogma and moral courage, and about the dark places where the two can meet. At once courageous and intensely personal, A History of Loneliness confirms Boyne as one of the most searching chroniclers of his generation.


Shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year
A Library Journal Best Book of the Year

"Boyne is a master storyteller. When I arrived at the last page, I knew I had just read an instant classic." ―Toronto Star
"[A] powerful story of guilt, tragedy and control. . . . Boyne's words [are] both compelling and deeply moving." —The Guardian (UK)

"A History of Loneliness is deftly complex. . . . Boyne gets its right." ―USA Today
"[A] compassionate portrait of Odran, an anguished man in midlife, confronting his cowardice and shattered by guilt and shame." ―The New York Times

"The writing is superb. . . . [An] excellent read." —Irish Times (Ireland)
"A History of Loneliness is a catalogue of changing attitudes to the church over the decades from a time when the clergy were infallible to a present day, where because of child abuse scandals they are viewed with suspicion. . . . Powerful." —The Times (UK)
"Incredible. . . . The novel is never less than engrossing." —Irish Independent (Ireland)
"Boyne captures the ghastly rippling effects of child abuse while garnering sympathy for innocent priests, tainted by the actions of others. A stunning but uncomfortable read." —Irish Examiner (Ireland)