Item description for Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan...
Overview Trapped by class hatreds and threatened by personal flaws, Father David Anderton, the Catholic priest in a small Scottish parish, begins to discover what happened to the ideals of his generation, but it is his friendship with two rebellious teenagers, Mark and Lisa, that triggers the enmity, suspicions, and simmering hatred of a town that resents strangers. Reprint.
Publishers Description "Always trust a stranger," said David's mother when he returned from Rome. "It's the people you know who let you down."Half a life later, David is Father Anderton, a Catholic priest with a small parish in Scotland. He befriends Mark and Lisa, rebellious local teenagers who live in a world he barely understands. Their company stirs memories of earlier happiness--his days at a Catholic school in Yorkshire, the student revolt in 1960s Oxford, and a choice he once made in the orange groves of Rome. But their friendship also ignites the suspicions and smoldering hatred of a town that resents strangers, and brings Father David to a reckoning with the gathered tensions of past and present.In this masterfully written novel, Andrew O'Hagan explores the emotional and moral contradictions of religious life in a faithless age.
Citations And Professional Reviews Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Commonweal - 06/20/2008 page 26
New York Times Book Review - 06/08/2008 page 28
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Andrew O'Hagan is one of Britain's most exciting and serious contemporary writers. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. He was voted one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. He has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of Our Fathers, Be Near Me, The Illuminations, among other books. He lives in London.
Reviews - What do customers think about Be Near Me?
Be Near me Apr 27, 2008
This is a wonderful novel. Its precis has been provided elswhere. Its writing is elegant, subtle and capturing of the place and time. I commend it.
Be Near Me Sep 22, 2007
I was suprised by how much I liked this book. The topic could have been ripped from the headlines. Catholic priest caught in yet another sexual misconduct case with a minor. But, what makes this book different is the fact that the priest not only comes off sympathic but actually nobel. Strange right? During the course for the book you find yourself rooting for him and when he falls, you root for his redemption too. O'Hagan is masterful in taking a topic the demands scorn and turing it into something much more complex and real with our making any excuses.
A poignant story Aug 31, 2007
Be Near Me is a searing read and paints a vivid portrait of an idealistic priest battling his inner demons. The Catholic priest in question, Oxford-educated David Anderton, finds himself heading the parish of a small town, Dalgarnock, and is met with suspicion by the townspeople. He befriends two troubled teens, Mark & Lisa & this friendship leads Anderton on a dangerous path that causes him to confront his past demons whilst struggling to deal with the consequences of his present actions.
Though the stories of sexual misdeeds in the church is not uncommon in these present times, the author succeeds in making other themes in the novel strike a more resonant chord within readers. Themes such as devotion, friendship, love, even ethics are given due consideration and the character of the priest arouses one's sympathy, despite his failings. A well-written novel that enables us to gain an insightful perspective of the central characters' lives.
Tough Subject Handled Beautifully Aug 30, 2007
What a beautifully written book. When Catholic priest David Anderton is posted to a small, clannish village in Scotland, his erudition and cultured ways are off-putting to most of the adults, with the notable exception of his cleaning woman and verbal sparring partner, Mrs. Poole. When he is drawn into the orbit of a couple of misfit teenagers, it is she who warns him that no good will come of it. David's past spills into most chapters seamlessly and we get a picture of his youth, his seminary experience and his Oxford days even as the present events unfold into personal disaster and the worst accusation a priest can face. What could have been a cliché, however, is not. When David realizes that his choices in life have left him totally alone and that the past and its grief cannot be forgotten, he accepts responsibility for his actions with total honesty and morality. The grief from which he can never heal is the great love he shared at Oxford with a fellow student - and his ruminations on love are particularly luminous (in O'Hagan's hands):
"...the heart will always have the last word, and when the word is love we can recognize, we can respond, we can submit and we can try to ignore, but we can never choose. Love is not a matter of choice but an obdurate fact of surrender."
Father David's mother is also a wonderfully drawn character - full of a steadfast and undemonstrative mother's love and good advice. The author's gift in leading the reader past distaste and condemnation of the protagonist's actions through the character's own search for self-understanding is quite an accomplishment, but it seems almost effortless.
Beautiful and Haunting Aug 29, 2007
O'Hagan does the difficult--incisively probes the psyche of a character who is extremely intelligent but has little insight of himself. With the current slew of priestly sexual misadventures, O'Hagan evinces the person behind the media sensation. Matters of sexual identity, race and social class are presented with a fine touch. There is one section of the novel, bearing its title, where I had to put the book down because the prose was so beautiful it took my breath away. I highly recommend this book