In a London pub in the 1950s, editor William Maginn is intrigued by a reference to the reputedly shameful demise of a remote mountain village in Kerry, Ireland, where he was born. Maginn returns to Kerry and uncovers an astonishing tale of an increasingly isolated village where the women mysteriously die - leaving the priest, Father McGreevy, to cope. McGreevy struggles to preserve what remains of his parish against the rough mountain elements, and the grief and superstitions of his people. A remarkable story, rich in the details of Irish lore and life. "O'Doherty's eloquent prose conjures up snow and cold and isolation as clearly as it does small town spite and gossip...bone-chilling."--Atlantic Monthly.
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The following article appeared in the "Irish Times" of Friday, Oct. 20, 2000: 'Fatwa'call against Booker author withdrawn by Anne Lucey.
Kerry councillor Mr. Michael Healy-Rae has withdrawn his call for a "fatwa" on the author of a novel which has been nominated for the Booker Prize. The novel, "The Deposition of Father McGreevy", by US-based Irish author Brian O'Doherty, is one of six books nominated for the prize to be awarded on November 7th.
Mr. Healy-Rae had said the book, based on life in a village near Dingle in the 1940's, should be banned and a "Muslim-style fatwa" issued on its author. The plot of the novel concerns a village in which all the women mysteriously die, leaving the priest, Fr. McGreevy, to cope with insoluble problems.
Mr. Healy-Rae, son of the independent TD, Mr. Jackie Healy-Rae, said the novel was all about "sheep, murder and madness" and did not give a true account of life in Kerry. "The Muslims put a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for insulting them, and I am calling for a fatwa on this guy," he told local newspaper "Kerry's Eye".
However, after a conversation with the author on Joe Duffy's Liveline programme on RTf Radio yesterday, Mr. Healy-Rae said he was willing to reconsider his fatwa call. "He seems like a nice fellow," he said of Mr. Doherty, who was also interviewed on Liveline. But mr. Healy-Rae reiterated his objections to the book itself. "Of course, this book should be banned." it depicted kerry farmers "as going around after sheep with their trousers down around their ankles, groaning and grunting behind bushes."
The Dingle Book shop has sold out all of its copies of the book since it was nominated for the Booker. The owner, Ms. Joanne Wilford, said while some people liked it, "local people are taking personal umbrage to the content. But people forget this is a work of fiction".About the Author:
Brian O'Doherty lives in New York where he is available for interview. His other novel The Strange Case of Mademoiselle P. is also published by Arcadia in June 2001
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