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ForeWord Clarion ReviewsFoley's characters are not always noble, and his prose is not always lofty, but readers can keenly sense the discrepancy between the intellectual, sometimes elevated tone and the intensely painful, withering content. There is an unmistakable lushness, almost an embarrassment of richness, to Foley's writing. His use of language is vivid and authoritative: "When the panoply of brilliant autumn colors begins its drift into the deathly pall of winter browns, when all wise creatures have dug their cradles and stored provisions deep inside the earth," readers can't help but notice how Foley weds birth and death by suggesting that cradles are dug.
One of this author's great strengths is his penchant for exploring moral ambiguity. While some of his stories have decidedly ecclesiastical titles ("The Book of Timothy," "Michael The Archangel," "The Gospel According to Tim"), Foley seems to take endless delight in undercutting his protagonists' noble intentions with dubious motives. In "The Ballad of Tomasso," the father aches for the future of his son, a gifted boy soprano whose only hope for retaining his extraordinary gift is castration. Despite the oddly compelling case made for this grotesque solution, Foley doesn't hesitate to suggest it could also remedy the jealousy the father feels when his wife lavishes attention on their son.