The Brothers' Lot

Kevin Holohan, Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-936070-91-6
The mix of dire experiences that goes into the education dished out at the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means adds up to a mordantly funny debut from Dublin native Holohan. Young Finbar Sullivan, newly arrived from Cork, finds himself at the mercy of priestly pedagogues, from the scheming Brother Loughlin to the sadistic Brother Kennedy, while trying to fit in among his cynical and abused classmates. The blighted prospects of post-WWII Dublin get a lightly satirical treatment, as with the teacher who sees a chance to dispense punishment as "the best excuse for vindictiveness that had come his way," or the adviser who lists "junior clerical assistant in the Department of Fisheries" as the brightest of grim career options, but Holohan's touch gets angrier as institutional decay transforms to rot, absurdity becomes bitterness, and depictions of characters and the school itself get etched with an increasingly brutal touch. The collapse of both the Order of the Brothers of Godly Coercion and the seat of tainted education they foist on their lower-middle-class pupils are fitting revenge, and the little hope Holohan holds out lends an acid edge to this cutting depiction of a system collapsing under the weight of its own corruption. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/14/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-84243-505-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61775-020-5
Ebook - 385 pages - 978-1-84243-507-6
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