The Fifth Station

Kevin McIlvoy, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $12.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-912697-76-5
At the fifth Station of the Cross, the Cyrenean helps Jesus carry the cross, but not for long. In this carefully wrought tale of three brothers who grow up in an Illinois steel town, Michael fails to help Matthew, the youngest, stay alive. And Luke, the oldest, fails to keep his promise of hope, leaving college and the family for a hobo's life in New Mexico. After Matthew dies, Michael also goes to New Mexico where he marries an Indian woman and has a child. Drinking more and more, he suddenly decides to write the story of Matthew's death, which occurred while the two were working overtime inside a nine-story foundry smokestack. McIlvoy weaves Michael's developing story, with its flashback to the brothers' early family life, with Luke's gradually growing willingness to love and hope again. Characters are vivid, not just the brothers but the steel workers in their daily lives and, particularly, Luke's hobo friends. Place is powerfully renderedthe desolate winter in New Mexico, the steel-town houses, bars and outdoor basketball courts with scraggly grass growing from the cracked cement, and the dark, breathing heat inside the smokestack. The brothers had been high-school basketball stars, known for their grace and promise. By the end of McIlvoy's story, much of that promise is restored; the grace is there throughout. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-02-034622-7
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-61187-490-7
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