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A courageous and powerful novel about faith, the church, conscience and celibacy.

A timely, courageous and powerful novel about faith, the church, conscience and celibacy.

Tom Keneally, ex-seminarian, pulls no punches as he interrogates the terrible damage done to innocents as the Catholic Church has prevaricated around language and points of law, covering up for its own.

Ex-communicated to Canada due to his radical preaching on the Vietnam War and other human rights causes, Father Frank Docherty is now a psychologist and monk. He returns to Australia to speak on abuse in the Church, and unwittingly is soon listening to stories from two different people – a young man, via his suicide note, and an ex-nun – who both claim to have been sexually abused by an eminent Sydney cardinal. This senior churchman is himself currently empannelled in a commission investigating sex abuse within the Church.

As a man of character and conscience, Father Docherty finds he must confront each party involved in the abuse and cover-up to try to bring the matter to the attention of the Church itself, and to secular authorities.

This riveting, profoundly thoughtful novel is both an exploration of faith as well as an examination of marriage, of conscience and celibacy, and of what has become one of the most controversial institutions, the Catholic Church.

Reviews

The heroism and villainy that play out thereafter is suspenseful, if predictable. Far more powerfully felt is Fagan’s unexpected expression of thanks to Docherty, near the novel’s end, for a favor he’s done her, which has made possible both personal renewal and public justice. “What favor is that?” the priest asks. Her answer: “You believed me.”

Randy Boyagoda, New York Times Review of Books

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780857987129

    September 18, 2017

    Vintage Australia

    400 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

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    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9780857987112

    October 31, 2016

    Vintage Australia

    400 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780857987136

    October 31, 2016

    Random House Australia

    400 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Extract

Docherty Comes to Australia
1 July 1996

Sarah Fagan was driving a cab. Some might think her cab-driving a pathetic attempt to meet men. In fact, it was a genuine attempt to allow a recovery of her brain, which was depleted, and a revival of her spirit, which had been rendered numb from all that had happened to her.

Driving was an art, but it also allowed intellectual vacuity, plain rituals of conversation. And if Sarah did not want to converse on the issue of why a woman like her was driving a cab, she would say, ‘We’re all filling in for my husband, who has cancer.’ The ‘we’re all’ implied a tough family hanging together in a crisis; that she was not, therefore, in favour of being messed around by passengers. She suspected that a decision about whether she would stay in neutral gear for the rest of her life, or might pull herself out of it, would most probably arise not from conscious thought or frantic self-analysis, but with her brain muted by routine. Listening to and exchanging banalities with her passengers, she hoped she would hear some healing neutral words. She might then learn to live in the same room as the tiger, the flesh-tearing fury.

Continue Reading
Q&A
Tom Keneally Q&A

The much-loved author discusses the impetus behind writing Crimes of the Father.

Article
Author’s Note: Tom Keneally

Straight from the pages of Crimes of the Father.

Also by Tom Keneally

The Daughters Of Mars
Two Old Men Dying
The Unmourned
The Soldier's Curse
Napoleon's Last Island
The Place at Whitton
A Country Too Far: Teacher's Edition
The Great Australian Writers' Collection 2013
Shame and the Captives
A Country Too Far
Three Famines
The People's Train
Searching For Schindler
Three Cheers For The Paraclete
The Widow And Her Hero
The Commonwealth Of Thieves
Roos In Shoes
The Tyrant's Novel
An Angel In Australia
American Scoundrel
Bettany's Book
The Great Shame
Jacko

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Girl on the Train
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden House
Breath
The Trip of a Lifetime
Ready Player One
The Light Between Oceans
On Chesil Beach
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Colombiano
Animal Farm
Sanctuary
Norwegian Wood