Destiny of Dreams

Michael Bowler, Author
Michael Bowler, Author Poolbeg Press $14.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-85371-065-0
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
This fine debut novel details boyhood and coming-of-agestet hyphens per webster/rl in County Kerry, Ireland. With a lyrical voice, the narrator at first recreates adult memories of a magical childhood--such scenes as a Christmas dinner convey an almost physical sense of pleasure in being with family. As Michael matures, however, he is beset by religious doubts, awakening sexuality and the raging loneliness of adolescence. Bowler, while clearly out to settle a few old scores dating back to his own childhood, has crafted this novel with restraint. His indictments of the Catholic educational establishment, for example, are handed down in a few swift, telling incidents of brutality and institutionalized pedophilia, which are all the more resonant for their lack of embellishment. The book ends as the narrator seeks in his first sexual experience expiation for his role in a childhood incident that led to a friend's death. In a searing denunciation of his Catholic upbringing, Michael's attempt at self-redemption fails as his sexual initiation--with the sister of his late friend--takes on the moral equivalence of murder. (Oct.)
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