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Fall from Grace

Fall from Grace

by Andrew M. Greeley

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Greeley ( The Cardinal Sins ) spins another romantic and eminently readable tale of love, politics and scandal among the powerful Irish Catholic families who, in this priest's fiction, run the city and the Archdiocese of Chicago. Dr. Kieran O'Kerrigan, a bachelor psychiatrist who recently returned to the Windy City after 20 years in New York, meets his old flame Kathleen Donahue when she asks him to test her for AIDS, having learned that her husband, a probable candidate for the U.S. Senate, has been sexually involved with men. At the same time Kathleen's brother James, a bishop high in the Church, is fighting a lawsuit in which a parish priest is accused of molesting a young boy. (In his introduction, Greeley tells readers that ``this book was drafted before the explosion of the pedophile crisis in the Archdiocese.'') Kieran and Kathleen find their love rekindling as she begins to sever ties with her ever more unstable and dangerous husband. Though the first-person narratives are occasionally disjointed, the story moves swiftly to its somewhat melodramatic conclusion. Greeley maintains suspense by not revealing all of the connections between characters and events until the denouement, but the clues are there and the ending is satisfying. Audio rights to HarperAudio. (Mar.)
Ray Olson
It will do absolutely no good to lament once again Greeley's clod-footed, clot-pated incompetence as a writer of fiction. Still, for the record, let it be said that this latest horror from his word processor features a large cast of Chicago Irish characters, all of whom, despite variations in gender and, supposedly, psychology, sound exactly alike. Let it be said that that sound is tinny, cliche-ridden, jejune, the sort of verbiage otherwise banished to the rankest mass-market paperbacks and to "Saturday Night Live"-style sketches in which it is used to convey the ludicrously banal. Enough of that. Greeley's themes, as usual, are timely: spouse abuse (by an up-and-coming politician of his wife), child molestation by priests, and corruption and duress exerted by the Church upon parents of children abused by priests. The best that might be said of his treatment of this material is that it is, although fundamentally dull, lurid. Stock up.
Kirkus Reviews
Pedophilia, Satanism, a closeted politician, and an astonishing number of semi-closeted priests reunite a prosperous Irish Catholic shrink and his long-lost love, now a Ph.D. candidate but still ravishing. Father Greeley (Wages of Sin, p. 627; et many al.) puts his big, familiar cast of Chicagoans through incredible punishment, but they always come up smiling. Kathleen Leary married big, handsome Brien Donahue instead of smallish, clever boyfriend Kieran O'Kerrigan back in the 70's because her dominating older brother James thought it best. Now James is a bishop; Kieran is a psychoanalyst; Kathleen is a mother and student; and Brien is a wife-beating, alcoholic, closeted homosexual lawyer whose lover has been calling Kathleen when he's not busy arranging his Satanic rituals. Oh, and Brien is also about to announce his candidacy for the upcoming senatorial primary. James, a stuffed-shirt careerist, tries to keep a lid on Kathleen and Brien's problems—while also trying to squelch a suburban couple who are suing the church for reassigning their young son's abuser, a pedophile priest, to another parish, which is how the archdiocese has been handling its pedophilia problems for years. James involves Kieran in the investigation of the pedophilia business, unaware that his sister, after years of separation, feels her love for Dr. O'Kerrigan reawakening. Meanwhile, Kathleen, who has the glorious red hair and magnificent breasts without which no Greeley heroine is complete, hacks away at her Ph.D., mothers three teenaged daughters, endures incredible abuse from her alcoholic mother, alcoholic husband, and alcoholic in-laws, and still, good Chicago Irish-Catholic politician that she is,agrees to put off a divorce until after the primary. Events, however, overtake everybody. Maddening. Nobody writing today has a better handle than Greeley does on his important and colorful corners of the world, but to get those insights invariably requires swallowing great doses of treacly, fake-Irish dialogue and swoony, moony romance. And, no matter how many demons he trots onstage, the outcome is never in doubt.

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Meet the Author

Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, author, and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013) was the author of more than fifty novels, including the Bishop Blackie Ryan mysteries and the Nuala Anne McGrail mysteries, as well as more than 100 works of non-fiction. His writing has been translated into 12 languages.

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