Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)


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And strangely enough, it's the third novel I've read, three of three in , that touches directly or indirectly on orphan-dom. I don't really know what that means, but I am the granddaughter of an orphan, and my father was powerfully affected by that, so there's definitely something going on here. This novel is also about coming from a place — metaphorical, physical — that is defined by poverty, trauma and addiction.

There can't be, because there are such huge gaps in self-knowledge and so many secrets. The poverty is not just because of a changing way of life that leads people "away" and priests astray and leaves those left behind with little to hope for. It is a poverty of spirit built from layers of emptiness that have been laid down over generations as each deals with its own secrets, and most die with them unexorcised.

And it's about all kinds of trauma, all kinds of addiction — personal bedevilment that extends far beyond the priesthood. And yes, it's about the sex scandals in the priesthood too. But these are put into a much broader and much more personal context. It's also about what the priesthood is — why people enter it and how they struggle to define it for themselves.

Beyond that, it's about how the scandals personally affect ed those of faith: the wrenching conflict between one's faith, one's trust in one man who represents that faith, and the truth. What it's not is particularly atmospheric of Cape Breton; i. I believe the loss of Gaelic is a metaphor for the loss of faith among these Cape Bretoners, whose island became a dumping ground for "bad" priests.

The internal landscape of Cape Breton is well-told, although it's not a particularly flattering portrait. Here's what I liked, loved even: this book didn't rest on pat explanations. It's too simple merely to say that the forced celibacy of the priesthood leads to aberrant sexual behaviour. Or, that damaged people are attracted to the priesthood, at which point they are damaged further. There is nothing particularly anti-Catholic here at least, as a non-Catholic, I didn't think so; Catholics might disagree.

On the contrary, it's a sensitive and searching portrayal of an issue, and the people involved in it, which respects not just the complexity of their faith but also their humanity. MacIntyre does a great job of what is essentially a character portrait more than one, in fact of a flawed and complex human being who happens to be a priest. Father MacAskill starts as a brittle, weak, ineffective priest who knows little of himself or of dealing with the faithful, beyond performing a duty to the Mother Church that implicates him in the scandals.

He degenerates from there. As he bottoms out and confronts his own demons, lo and behold — he becomes not only more human, but also a better priest. And MacIntyre does a percent better job of that character arc than I just did, which is why he won the Giller, I'd say. This is also a portrayal of a crisis of faith not in terms of one man's attempt to understand his relationship to God, but to understand his relationship to himself, to his past and to his calling.

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One other thing: most of the reviews I've read comment on the disjointed nature of the narrative structure, with its flashbacks and flash-forwards. You need to be patient with this, because while it's disorienting at first, it gets more cohesive as the plot unfolds and in fact, I believe this is intentional. As Fr. MacAskill becomes whole, the threads of time are tied together, and the links between past, present and future start to make sense.

Concurrent with that, the dialogue is also disorienting at first. Conversation seems to go nowhere, or seems to rely on some kind of implicit but unspoken understanding between characters to which the reader is not privy. People talk, but there are gaps in dialogue lots unsaid, lots under the surface , and weird stops, starts and jumps to conclusions as jarring as the jumps back and forth in time.

And then, sensible dialogue begins. By the last 50 pages, as the timing and the dialogue become whole and rich, this novel starts to feel entirely worthy of the accolades and awards it won which is to say that I think criticisms of inconsistency, a lack of sure-handedness or trickery with respect to managing the novel's narrative flow or dialogue miss the point. In the last third of the book, one of its most interesting at least to me themes coalesces, as the dialogue — i.

And that fundamental, very existential aloneness — beyond sexual to an all-encompassing kind of connection to oneself, one's past, one's roots and family, and one's vocation, not to mention to others — is at the root of dysfunction, dread and despair. There are several interesting references to existentialism, and Fr.

MacAskill himself reads Heidegger. A powerful novel. Maybe not a complete 5, but let it stand for now. View all 16 comments. Jul 08, Shane rated it really liked it. A topical story for our times told by an insider, Fr. Duncan MacAskill, who is a "hit man" for his church, responsible for removing sexual predators from among his colleagues to safer grounds, so that they are free to commit more crimes, it seems from the news reports these days.

The story focuses on Duncan's unravelling and descent into alcoholism from combinations of the guilt piled on during his childhood, his suppressed feelings towards the women in his life, the isolation of his office, an A topical story for our times told by an insider, Fr. The story focuses on Duncan's unravelling and descent into alcoholism from combinations of the guilt piled on during his childhood, his suppressed feelings towards the women in his life, the isolation of his office, and the "sins of the fathers" that he has to clean up.

1 • INTRODUCTION

Three stories intersect: Duncan's father and his buddies' wartime "collateral damage" which result in later abuse and suicide, Duncan's sojourn in the Honduras during the "70's which also ends in tragedy, and his present story when he is sent as custodian of an isolated parish in Cape Breton really intended to get him out of the way of a nosey press , not far from where he grew up and where his closet's skeletons are eagerly awaiting him. Bringing the three story lines into sharper focus and towards a painful resolution is the suicide of a young man in the parish community - by now, a recognized outcome of unresolved sexual abuse.

Duncan is impelled to hunt down the perpetrator, despite having walked away from his previous job. The author draws a sympathetic and haunting portrait of Duncan MacAskill, who seems to bear everyone's guilt, of victims and perpetrators alike. The sense of community in the parish is also evoked very well by people frequently bumping into each other or visiting the priest for a drink, and by illicit sexual couplings between parishioners from among the rather slim pickings available. Viciously guarded family secrets prove to be the only impediments to Duncan finding out "whodunit.

I particularly liked his short treatise on the Burdens of Priesthood a. Despite this being a Giller winner, I couldn't help feel a bit lost in the rapid, and sometimes unwarranted, time shifts - some contrived for effect and pacing. I also felt that the tenses could have been better written and that it would have been okay once in a while to be a bit more direct about what was happening. There were words like "bum" "penis" and "anus" tossed out but the acts behind them were discussed in a roundabout fashion, as if there was fear of a lawsuit in an age when this subject is front and centre of the news.

View 1 comment. Jan 15, Peachy rated it it was amazing Shelves: disturbing , loss-of-innocence , abandonment , addiction , mental-illness , awards , existential , canadian , spirituality , family. With Linden MacIntyre being one of my favourite journalists, I was thrilled to hear of his novel being honoured as the winner of the Scotiabank Giller prize for I was not disappointed. It is by way of these happenings that we are presented with brutally honest characters living lives of deceit and despair.

These tragically flawed people are human in their beastliness, conflicted, damaged, and eternally struggling to break the vicious cycle of pain and suffering. For the sake of the Catholics out there, I pray that they will make the changes that are needed to gain back so many members that they have lost due to their closed-mindedness and denial. Amidst the madness and injustice, we pause to take in the haunting and beautiful descriptions of small towns, where you can hear the fiddle and smell the sea salt lifting off the page.

Linden MacIntyre has proven to be an adoring poet in his love of the East coast and of the Gaelic and English languages. His words are profound and emotive, and I look forward to picking up his other novels in the hopes of more of the same. Jun 20, Autumn rated it really liked it Shelves: canadian , spirituality , suspense , culture , ns. He never lets us see him scavenging. You only see him soaring. Or sitting high up, somewhere out of reach.


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Kind of superior. He's very discreet about the mundane, the mortal It's easier to mythologize that way. As a member of a "helping" profession, I often find myself extremely isolated. I work with sexual offenders, addicts, victims- much as the central character of this story- and he truly gets the sense of isolation "You know the eagles secret? I work with sexual offenders, addicts, victims- much as the central character of this story- and he truly gets the sense of isolation that comes with this type of work.

What a person does to stay centred when hearing tales of hell-on-earth, holding the space with guilt, smugness, entitlement, excuses I found myself sympathizing at every turn. Sometimes I shed my own tears. The pain of personal impotence? Living alone without privacy. The burden of trust without intimacy. This very much jaded my interaction with the story, and it is rare that I do so much self-disclosure in a book review.

Suffice to say, MacIntyre has written a beautiful novel, taking a tragic situation and opening up the doors of the complex exploration, acknowledging that every crime has multiple victims, nothing is ever simple and everyone needs a break sometimes. I don't need a rest.

I need an exit. Oct 13, Mary Lou rated it really liked it. I avoided this book because of the repulsiveness of the subject matter and, were it not for book club, would probably have kept on avoiding it.

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The book grapples wit I avoided this book because of the repulsiveness of the subject matter and, were it not for book club, would probably have kept on avoiding it. I liked the genuine feeling for place that came through loud and clear. On the whole, well worth reading. Dec 12, Alexis rated it really liked it Shelves: This book was wonderfully different from what I was expecting.

I was expecting a straight narrative about sexual abuse in one church or community. Instead I got this rich, layered narrative about the priest's role, isolation and the challenges of being both a priest and a man. I loved MacIntyre's style of writing, and the weave of the narrative. Nothing in here was black or white, and the story continued to raise questions throughout.

This was an excellent example of "show, not tell. This book deserved to win. View all 6 comments. Feb 20, Sandra rated it it was amazing. This novel won the Canadian Giller prize and at the time it was considered a surprise. I didn't expect to like this novel, but I did, very much. I became totally engrossed in it.

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It's a quiet, psychological novel, written in a well-crafted spare style. The subject couldn't be more important or relevant. The main character, a sympathetic priest who only wants to do the right thing, is given the assignment of helping to cover up the sexual abuses that are increasingly coming to light. His suspicio This novel won the Canadian Giller prize and at the time it was considered a surprise.

His suspicions, and discomfort, increases. This novel is very gripping, in a quiet way. I highly recommend it. Aug 28, Peter rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , religion , canadiana. Journalist Linden MacIntyre uses fiction to tackle one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century Catholic Church, the sexually abusive priests and the havoc that they created. Through the eyes of Duncan MacAskill, a fifty something priest, we are taken on a tour of the emotional and political landscape of an institution and individuals failing to respond adequately to a major crisis.

Set in Cape Breton in the 's MacIntyre has spun a tale that is believeable in its understanding of a comple Journalist Linden MacIntyre uses fiction to tackle one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century Catholic Church, the sexually abusive priests and the havoc that they created. Set in Cape Breton in the 's MacIntyre has spun a tale that is believeable in its understanding of a complex pyschological issue. And the guy can write. Peter's Martyrdom. Opening of the Council, Dec. Method of Discussion, and voting of amendments and reports in the General Congregations.

Discussion of the Schema on the Church. Categories : works PD-old Vatican. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read Edit View history. My personality was buried in my subconscious and replaced by that of Ull, a hunter and killer. For a time, I too served the Nephilim. As the first and only human born on Antarctica, they believed that I could contain the spirit of their fallen king, Nephil, and lead them to conquer humanity.

But I was stronger than they knew and escaped deep into the underworld, where I have been hiding for the past two years. I live in a cavern, which is somehow lush with green vegetation, eking out a living and cowering from the confrontation that I know awaits me.

descent a tale of bishop s island book 2 Manual

But the nightmare has found me. I can smell them. The hunters. They have discovered my hideout. The pursuit of Solomon Ull Vincent—the last hunter—has begun. And if they catch me, this is where my story will end. I no longer exist. My kidnapping, breaking and corruption at the hands of the half-human, half-demon Nephilim began the journey to nothingness. I had hoped to one day rejoin my loved ones in the outside world, but before I realized it, twenty years had passed.

Time is a distance I cannot traverse. If there is any memory of me, it is distant. Worse, the spirit of Nephil, Lord of the Nephilim, used my connection with the continent to decimate the surface world. I am weak and cold. My abilities are gone. And I am not alone in this hell. There are things here more horrible than I could have imagined. To exist again. To return to my new family—Em and Luca. To set things right. Read them together for the full experience. The final two books in The Last Hunter series will complete both storylines as they merge.

In all the days since my kidnapping, breaking and transformation into a hunter at the hands of the half-human, half-demon Nephilim, my life has been a mass of chaotic actions and reactions to the horrors of the Antarctic underworld. I have battled unnatural monsters, fled for my life, and sacrificed everything—or thought I had, when I stepped through the gates of Tartarus. Every choice I have made was in response to forces beyond my control, lacking any kind of direction.

Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)
Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2) Descent (A Tale of Bishops Island Book 2)

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