Overview

Larkwood Priory, Suffolk, 1995: Following his afternoon confessions, Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselm’s response—claim sanctuary—is to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined, for the man returns demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.

Meanwhile, with her life running out, Agnes Aubret unburdens a secret to her ...

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The Sixth Lamentation

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Overview

Larkwood Priory, Suffolk, 1995: Following his afternoon confessions, Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselm’s response—claim sanctuary—is to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined, for the man returns demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.

Meanwhile, with her life running out, Agnes Aubret unburdens a secret to her granddaughter Lucy. Fifty years earlier Agnes lived in occupied Paris and risked her life to smuggle Jewish children to safety until her group was exposed by an SS officer: Eduard Schwermann.
 
As Father Anselm struggles to discover the truth about Schwermann’s history and Lucy delves ever deeper into her grandmother’s past, their investigations dovetail to reveal a remarkable story, in which two seemingly unconnected lives shockingly converge. William Brodrick is a master of crisp historical re-creation, precision plotting, and morally complex characterization.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Broderick's masterful first novel is characterized by the publisher as a "literary thriller," as though it needed that label to attract and galvanize buyers. But the book defies genre pigeonholing; it is simply storytelling at its finest. Amid the rush and tumble of a stirring plot, the author's eloquent prose brings power to the tangled and tragic history on which the story is based. After decades in hiding, Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal, claims sanctuary at Larkwood Priory, a modern-day monastery in the English countryside. Ordered to investigate the 50-year-old mystery of Schwermann's crime, Father Anselm, an ex-lawyer turned monk, is soon immersed in the murky history of the Nazi occupation of Paris and the deportation of French Jews to the death camps. He researches the life of a heroic French resistance fighter and attempts to answer questions about treachery, both modern and historical. In a second narrative thread, the aging Agnes Embleton sees a wartime-era picture of Schwermann on television and is cast back to occupied Paris and her role in the Round Table, a group of students who attempted to rescue thousands of Jewish children. Agnes suffers from a degenerative ailment called motor neuron disease and depends on her 25-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, for physical assistance. Lucy has also become a repository of the aging woman's memories. Nothing is as it seems, and the truth is revealed layer by layer as the past gives up its secrets to the persistent Father Anselm and the devoted Lucy. Even in the smallest moments, Broderick's writing is beautiful: "They walked on, the light swiftly thinning, the mad swooping of distant birds suddenly ended, leaving the sky bare, unscored." The complex nature of the plot demands concentration, but the effort pays off handsomely as one is swept into this heartrending story. (July 14) Forecast: A natural handsell to fans of both thrillers and plot-driven literary fiction, Broderick's novel may also benefit from his intriguing life story: he was an Augustinian friar before leaving the order to become a lawyer, and the events of the novel are loosely based on the experiences of his mother during the war. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Father Anselm has a problem: the elderly man who has claimed sanctuary at his church is a suspected Nazi war criminal. The publisher has powerful convictions about this first novel, penned by an Augustinian friar turned barrister. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A suspected Nazi fugitive, a collaborator, veterans of the French Resistance, plus a host of funky monks in a nicely, at times wonderfully, written literary thriller remarkably devoid of stereotypes. Agnes Aubret, former member of the Round Table-an underground group of young people who 50 years earlier spirited Jewish children out of Paris during the German occupation-is diagnosed with a rapidly progressing fatal disease. She has accepted her imminent death. But that peaceful trip to the grave is interrupted when secrets related to the events that defined her life start emerging in the press. A suspected fugitive Nazi war criminal thought to have been involved in the death camp deportations from Paris gets asylum at an English monastery. Neither the Vatican nor the British Home Office is appropriately outraged, and buried truths start popping up like coffins in a flooded cemetery as Father Anselm, a barrister-turned-monk, and young relatives of the apparent good guys and bad guys dig. Rather than amateur detectives out to settle an inherited grudge, they seem genuinely driven to know history. Their elders, having struggled with the pieces of the period in question, know there will be no history without judgment. The converging paths will meet in court. Character and place are sketched one casual but well-chosen line at a time. This attention to detail makes the rather glacial pace for a thriller acceptable; there's plenty to absorb, even at that pace. First-novelist Brodrick, himself a former Augustinian friar, takes the high road, avoiding a minefield of potential clichés and stereotypes. Equally rotten with potential for black-and-white moralizing, the dominant moral tone is as gray asa London winter, and the reader is carried along as much by an interest in the people as in answers to the questions raised about levels of guilt. The storyline is intricate enough to make one squint at times, but it's never contrived for the sake of cleverness or cheapened merely to lead the reader astray. A slo-mo thriller. Literary, too. Agent: Emma Parry/Carlisle and Company
From the Publisher
"Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters)." —USA Today

"A John le Carré in the making." —The Daily Telegraph, London

"A cat’s cradle of a mystery with the interwoven stories pulled as taut as a piano wire." —Martha Grimes

"A masterful blending of sharp suspense and literary resonance... truly compelling." —Jeffery Deaver

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440627507
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/27/2004
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 434,710
  • File size: 363 KB

Meet the Author

William Brodrick was a Franciscan friar before leaving the order to become a practicing barrister.


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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

"Sanctuary."

"My bottom!"

"Honestly."

The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.

"It was abolished ages ago. He can't be serious."

"Well, he is," said Anselm.

"When did he come out with that one?"

"This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave."

The Prior scowled. "I suppose he declined to oblige?"

"Yes. And he told Wilf there's nowhere he can go."

The two monks were sitting on a wooden bench on the south transept lawn of the Old Abbey ruin. It was Anselm's favourite spot at Larkwood. Facing them, on the South Walk cloister wall, were the remnants of the night stairs from the now vanished dorter. He liked to sit here and muse upon his thirteenth-century ancestors, cowled and silent, making their way down for the night hours. The lawn, eaten by moss, spread away, undulating towards the enclosure fencing and, beyond that, to the bluebell path which led to the convent. It was a sharp morning. The Prior had just come back from a trip to London, having managed to miss the main item on all news bulletins. He'd returned home to find a gaggle of reporters and television crews camped on his doorstep.

"Give it to me again, in order," said the Prior. He always insisted upon accurate chronologies.

"The story broke in a local newspaper of all places. By the time the nationals had got to his home he was here, claiming the protection of the Church."

"What did Wilf say?"

"Words to the effect that the police wouldn't pay any heed to Clement III."

"Who was Clement III?"

"The Pope who granted the Order the right of sanctuary."

"Trust Wilf to know that." Disconcerted, he added, "How did you know?"

"I had to ask as well."

"That's all right then." He returned to his mental listing. "Go on, then what?"

"Wilf rang the police. The first I knew about anything was when the media were at the gates. I had a few words with them, batting back daft questions."

Father Andrew examined his nails, flicking his thumb upon each finger. "But why claim sanctuary? Where did he get the idea from?"

Anselm shifted uncomfortably. He would answer that question at the right moment, not now. It was one of the first lessons Anselm had learnt after he'd placed himself subject to Holy Obedience: there's a time and a place for honesty, and it is the privilege of the servant to choose the moment of abasement with his master.

The Prior stood and paced the ground, his arms concealed beneath his scapular. He said, "We are on the two horns of one dilemma."

"Indeed."

They looked at each other, silently acknowledging the delicacy of the situation. The Prior spoke for them both:

"If he goes, there'll be international coverage of an old man protesting his innocence being handed over to the police; if he stays, we'll be damned for supporting a Nazi. Either way, to lapse into the vernacular, we're shafted."

"Succinctly put."

The Prior leaned on a sill beneath an open arcade in the south transept wall, reflectively brushing loose lichen with the back of his hand. Anselm joined him.

"Father, I think one horn is shorter than the other and more comfortably straddled."

"Go on."

"The sooner he leaves the better. Otherwise we risk protracted public fascination with why he came here in the first place."

By a tilt of the head the Prior drew Anselm away, leading him towards the stile gate and the bluebell path. "I'm going to find out what the sisters think. They had a Chapter this morning."

As they walked through the grass, wet with dew, Anselm pursued his point. "If he's forced to go now, any uproar will be short-lived. And there is an explanation we can give in the future if we get hammered for throwing an innocent man onto the street."

"Which is?"

"This is a monastery, not a remand home for the elderly." Anselm was pleased with the phrase. It was pithy and rounded: a good sound bite...prepared earlier.

The Prior nodded, mildly unimpressed. Anselm persevered, eyeing the Prior as he'd often eyed judges in another life when trying to read their minds.

"The alternative is the other, longer horn. If he moves in, and that's what it will amount to, we're in trouble. There could be a trial." Anselm paused. "Nothing we say will convince any victims that we're not on his side."

They reached the stile and the Prior climbed over onto the path, gathering his black habit under one arm, the white scapular thrown over one shoulder. Anselm sensed him drifting away, chasing private thoughts. "We should find out more tomorrow night. Detective Superintendent Milby's coming at six. I'd like you and Wilf to be there. Then we'll have a Special Chapter. Let everyone know, will you?"

"Yes, of course."

Anselm watched Father Prior disappear along the path, across a haze of blue and purple, his habit swaying in the breeze, his head bowed.

Anselm had met Detective Superintendent Milby several times in the past. In those days Milby had been a foot soldier with the drugs squad. He had long hair and dressed in jeans, but still managed to look like a policeman. Anselm had been a hack at the London Bar and their meetings had been limited to the pro-forma cross-examination about stitching up and excessive violence. Like all policemen familiar with the courts, Milby had taken it in his stride. That was well over ten years ago, and they'd both moved on since then.

Leaning against the stile gate, Anselm could almost smell the heavy scent of floor wax from his old chambers, and hear again the raucous laughter of competing voices in the coffee room. He smiled to himself, winsomely.

When Anselm left the Bar it caused a minor sensation, not least because it was such a wonderful Robing Room yarn. Since it was endemic to the profession to treat such things with private gravity and public levity, Anselm only heard the lowered voices of shared empathy: "Tell me, old son, is it true? You're off to a monastery? I can say this to you, but we've all got secret longings. The job's not everything..."

Anselm had knocked up ten years' call but, unknown to his colleagues, had never fully settled into harness. There was a restlessness that started to grow shortly after he became a tenant. Imperceptibly, he began to feel out of place, as if in a foreign land. There was another language, rarely spoken, and he wanted to learn it. Determined attempts to live a "normal" life as a professional man floundered at regular but unpredictable intervals. He could be waiting for a taxi or heading off to court, doing anything ordinary, and he would suddenly feel curiously alienated from his surroundings. It was a sort of homesickness, usually mild, and occasionally acute. He later called these attacks by stealth "promptings." All Anselm knew at the time was that they were vaguely religious in origin. He responded by purchasing various translations of the Bible and books on prayer, as if the answer to the puzzle lay somewhere between the pages. On one occasion he left a bookshop having ordered a thirty-eight-volume edition of the Early Church Fathers. They remained as they came, in three cardboard boxes strapped with tape and stacked in the corner of his living room, and used as an inelegant resting place for coffee-cups and take-away detritus. Anselm would then recover, and continue his life at the Bar until ambushed by another God-ward impulse. It was a sort of guerrilla war for which he was always unprepared and ill-equipped. And all the while his book collection became larger, more comprehensive, and unread. Eventually he stopped buying books. He realised one day whilst looking through a wide-angle lens that he wanted to become a monk.

It was a slightly odd experience. On leaving the Court of Appeal one late November afternoon, he was stopped in his tracks by a Chinese tourist who never ceased to smile. Several gesticulations later Anselm stood beneath the portal arch of the Royal Courts of Justice looking into the camera of a total stranger.

Suddenly he felt the urge to put the record straight, to say, "Look, you're mistaken. I'm not who or what you think I am; I'm a fraud." This happy man from a far away place had pushed an internal door ajar and Anselm knew at once what was on the other side. He set off down the steps with incomprehensible protestations ringing in his ears-from himself...and from the tourist who'd inadvertently nudged him away from the Bar. Taking the bus to Victoria, Anselm walked past the bookshop and into Westminster Cathedral, where he sat down beneath the dark interlocking bricks of the nave, and prayed. It was to be the only moment of near certainty in Anselm's subsequent religious life. The jostling between doubt and perseverance was to come later. But at that time he understood, at last, what the underlying problem had been. It had been Larkwood Priory all along.

"); } else { document.write(""); } // —

"Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters)." —USA Today

"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //—

CHAPTER ONE

"Sanctuary."

"My bottom!"

"Honestly."

The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.

"It was abolished ages ago. He can't be serious."

"Well, he is," said Anselm.

"When did he come out with that one?"

"This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave."

The Prior scowled. "I suppose he declined to oblige?"

"Yes. And he told Wilf there's nowhere he can go."

The two monks were sitting on a wooden bench on the south transept lawn of the Old Abbey ruin. It was Anselm's favourite spot at Larkwood. Facing them, on the South Walk cloister wall, were the remnants of the night stairs from the now vanished dorter. He liked to sit here and muse upon his thirteenth-century ancestors, cowled and silent, making their way down for the night hours. The lawn, eaten by moss, spread away, undulating towards the enclosure fencing and, beyond that, to the bluebell path which led to the convent. It was a sharp morning. The Prior had just come back from a trip to London, having managed to miss the main item on all news bulletins. He'd returned home to find a gaggle of reporters and television crews camped on his doorstep.

"Give it to me again, in order," said the Prior. He always insisted upon accurate chronologies.

"The story broke in a local newspaper of all places. By the time the nationals had got to his home he was here, claiming the protection of the Church."

"What did Wilf say?"

"Words to the effect that the police wouldn't pay any heed to Clement III."

"Who was Clement III?"

"The Pope who granted the Order the right of sanctuary."

"Trust Wilf to know that." Disconcerted, he added, "How did you know?"

"I had to ask as well."

"That's all right then." He returned to his mental listing. "Go on, then what?"

"Wilf rang the police. The first I knew about anything was when the media were at the gates. I had a few words with them, batting back daft questions."

Father Andrew examined his nails, flicking his thumb upon each finger. "But why claim sanctuary? Where did he get the idea from?"

Anselm shifted uncomfortably. He would answer that question at the right moment, not now. It was one of the first lessons Anselm had learnt after he'd placed himself subject to Holy Obedience: there's a time and a place for honesty, and it is the privilege of the servant to choose the moment of abasement with his master.

The Prior stood and paced the ground, his arms concealed beneath his scapular. He said, "We are on the two horns of one dilemma."

"Indeed."

They looked at each other, silently acknowledging the delicacy of the situation. The Prior spoke for them both:

"If he goes, there'll be international coverage of an old man protesting his innocence being handed over to the police; if he stays, we'll be damned for supporting a Nazi. Either way, to lapse into the vernacular, we're shafted."

"Succinctly put."

The Prior leaned on a sill beneath an open arcade in the south transept wall, reflectively brushing loose lichen with the back of his hand. Anselm joined him.

"Father, I think one horn is shorter than the other and more comfortably straddled."

"Go on."

"The sooner he leaves the better. Otherwise we risk protracted public fascination with why he came here in the first place."

By a tilt of the head the Prior drew Anselm away, leading him towards the stile gate and the bluebell path. "I'm going to find out what the sisters think. They had a Chapter this morning."

As they walked through the grass, wet with dew, Anselm pursued his point. "If he's forced to go now, any uproar will be short-lived. And there is an explanation we can give in the future if we get hammered for throwing an innocent man onto the street."

"Which is?"

"This is a monastery, not a remand home for the elderly." Anselm was pleased with the phrase. It was pithy and rounded: a good sound bite...prepared earlier.

The Prior nodded, mildly unimpressed. Anselm persevered, eyeing the Prior as he'd often eyed judges in another life when trying to read their minds.

"The alternative is the other, longer horn. If he moves in, and that's what it will amount to, we're in trouble. There could be a trial." Anselm paused. "Nothing we say will convince any victims that we're not on his side."

They reached the stile and the Prior climbed over onto the path, gathering his black habit under one arm, the white scapular thrown over one shoulder. Anselm sensed him drifting away, chasing private thoughts. "We should find out more tomorrow night. Detective Superintendent Milby's coming at six. I'd like you and Wilf to be there. Then we'll have a Special Chapter. Let everyone know, will you?"

"Yes, of course."

Anselm watched Father Prior disappear along the path, across a haze of blue and purple, his habit swaying in the breeze, his head bowed.

Anselm had met Detective Superintendent Milby several times in the past. In those days Milby had been a foot soldier with the drugs squad. He had long hair and dressed in jeans, but still managed to look like a policeman. Anselm had been a hack at the London Bar and their meetings had been limited to the pro-forma cross-examination about stitching up and excessive violence. Like all policemen familiar with the courts, Milby had taken it in his stride. That was well over ten years ago, and they'd both moved on since then.

Leaning against the stile gate, Anselm could almost smell the heavy scent of floor wax from his old chambers, and hear again the raucous laughter of competing voices in the coffee room. He smiled to himself, winsomely.

When Anselm left the Bar it caused a minor sensation, not least because it was such a wonderful Robing Room yarn. Since it was endemic to the profession to treat such things with private gravity and public levity, Anselm only heard the lowered voices of shared empathy: "Tell me, old son, is it true? You're off to a monastery? I can say this to you, but we've all got secret longings. The job's not everything..."

Anselm had knocked up ten years' call but, unknown to his colleagues, had never fully settled into harness. There was a restlessness that started to grow shortly after he became a tenant. Imperceptibly, he began to feel out of place, as if in a foreign land. There was another language, rarely spoken, and he wanted to learn it. Determined attempts to live a "normal" life as a professional man floundered at regular but unpredictable intervals. He could be waiting for a taxi or heading off to court, doing anything ordinary, and he would suddenly feel curiously alienated from his surroundings. It was a sort of homesickness, usually mild, and occasionally acute. He later called these attacks by stealth "promptings." All Anselm knew at the time was that they were vaguely religious in origin. He responded by purchasing various translations of the Bible and books on prayer, as if the answer to the puzzle lay somewhere between the pages. On one occasion he left a bookshop having ordered a thirty-eight-volume edition of the Early Church Fathers. They remained as they came, in three cardboard boxes strapped with tape and stacked in the corner of his living room, and used as an inelegant resting place for coffee-cups and take-away detritus. Anselm would then recover, and continue his life at the Bar until ambushed by another God-ward impulse. It was a sort of guerrilla war for which he was always unprepared and ill-equipped. And all the while his book collection became larger, more comprehensive, and unread. Eventually he stopped buying books. He realised one day whilst looking through a wide-angle lens that he wanted to become a monk.

It was a slightly odd experience. On leaving the Court of Appeal one late November afternoon, he was stopped in his tracks by a Chinese tourist who never ceased to smile. Several gesticulations later Anselm stood beneath the portal arch of the Royal Courts of Justice looking into the camera of a total stranger.

Suddenly he felt the urge to put the record straight, to say, "Look, you're mistaken. I'm not who or what you think I am; I'm a fraud." This happy man from a far away place had pushed an internal door ajar and Anselm knew at once what was on the other side. He set off down the steps with incomprehensible protestations ringing in his ears-from himself...and from the tourist who'd inadvertently nudged him away from the Bar. Taking the bus to Victoria, Anselm walked past the bookshop and into Westminster Cathedral, where he sat down beneath the dark interlocking bricks of the nave, and prayed. It was to be the only moment of near certainty in Anselm's subsequent religious life. The jostling between doubt and perseverance was to come later. But at that time he understood, at last, what the underlying problem had been. It had been Larkwood Priory all along.

"); } else { document.write(""); } //—

"Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters)." —USA Today

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"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //—

Larkwood Priory, England: Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselm's response: claim sanctuary. But the answer sets off more trouble than he ever could have imagined when the man returns, demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.

Agnes Aubret has unburdened a secret to her granddaughter Lucy. Fifty years earlier, Agnes was in occupied Paris, risking her life to smuggle Jewish children to safety—until her group was exposed by an SS officer: Eduard Schwermann.

Not only has the Church granted Schwermann sanctuary before; in 1944 it helped him escape from France to begin a new life in Britain. As Anselm attempts to find out why and as Lucy delves deeper into her grandmother's past, their investigations dovetail to form a remarkable story.
 
William Brodrick makes a dazzling debut in this literary thriller where two seemingly unconnected lives gradually, shockingly converge. Brodrick, himself a former Augustinian friar, is a master of precision plotting, morally complex characterization, and crisp historical re-creation. In Father Anselm, Brodrick has crafted a unique and compelling hero. Taut and completely compelling, The 6th Lamentation promises to be the literary thriller discovery of the season.

"); } else { document.write(""); } //— 

"); } else { document.write(""); } //—

CHAPTER ONE

"Sanctuary."

"My bottom!"

"Honestly."

The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.

"It was abolished ages ago. He can't be serious."

"Well, he is," said Anselm.

"When did he come out with that one?"

"This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave."

The Prior scowled. "I suppose he declined to oblige?"

"Yes. And he told Wilf there's nowhere he can go."

The two monks were sitting on a wooden bench on the south transept lawn of the Old Abbey ruin. It was Anselm's favourite spot at Larkwood. Facing them, on the South Walk cloister wall, were the remnants of the night stairs from the now vanished dorter. He liked to sit here and muse upon his thirteenth-century ancestors, cowled and silent, making their way down for the night hours. The lawn, eaten by moss, spread away, undulating towards the enclosure fencing and, beyond that, to the bluebell path which led to the convent. It was a sharp morning. The Prior had just come back from a trip to London, having managed to miss the main item on all news bulletins. He'd returned home to find a gaggle of reporters and television crews camped on his doorstep.

"Give it to me again, in order," said the Prior. He always insisted upon accurate chronologies.

"The story broke in a local newspaper of all places. By the time the nationals had got to his home he was here, claiming the protection of the Church."

"What did Wilf say?"

"Words to the effect that the police wouldn't pay any heed to Clement III."

"Who was Clement III?"

"The Pope who granted the Order the right of sanctuary."

"Trust Wilf to know that." Disconcerted, he added, "How did you know?"

"I had to ask as well."

"That's all right then." He returned to his mental listing. "Go on, then what?"

"Wilf rang the police. The first I knew about anything was when the media were at the gates. I had a few words with them, batting back daft questions."

Father Andrew examined his nails, flicking his thumb upon each finger. "But why claim sanctuary? Where did he get the idea from?"

Anselm shifted uncomfortably. He would answer that question at the right moment, not now. It was one of the first lessons Anselm had learnt after he'd placed himself subject to Holy Obedience: there's a time and a place for honesty, and it is the privilege of the servant to choose the moment of abasement with his master.

The Prior stood and paced the ground, his arms concealed beneath his scapular. He said, "We are on the two horns of one dilemma."

"Indeed."

They looked at each other, silently acknowledging the delicacy of the situation. The Prior spoke for them both:

"If he goes, there'll be international coverage of an old man protesting his innocence being handed over to the police; if he stays, we'll be damned for supporting a Nazi. Either way, to lapse into the vernacular, we're shafted."

"Succinctly put."

The Prior leaned on a sill beneath an open arcade in the south transept wall, reflectively brushing loose lichen with the back of his hand. Anselm joined him.

"Father, I think one horn is shorter than the other and more comfortably straddled."

"Go on."

"The sooner he leaves the better. Otherwise we risk protracted public fascination with why he came here in the first place."

By a tilt of the head the Prior drew Anselm away, leading him towards the stile gate and the bluebell path. "I'm going to find out what the sisters think. They had a Chapter this morning."

As they walked through the grass, wet with dew, Anselm pursued his point. "If he's forced to go now, any uproar will be short-lived. And there is an explanation we can give in the future if we get hammered for throwing an innocent man onto the street."

"Which is?"

"This is a monastery, not a remand home for the elderly." Anselm was pleased with the phrase. It was pithy and rounded: a good sound bite...prepared earlier.

The Prior nodded, mildly unimpressed. Anselm persevered, eyeing the Prior as he'd often eyed judges in another life when trying to read their minds.

"The alternative is the other, longer horn. If he moves in, and that's what it will amount to, we're in trouble. There could be a trial." Anselm paused. "Nothing we say will convince any victims that we're not on his side."

They reached the stile and the Prior climbed over onto the path, gathering his black habit under one arm, the white scapular thrown over one shoulder. Anselm sensed him drifting away, chasing private thoughts. "We should find out more tomorrow night. Detective Superintendent Milby's coming at six. I'd like you and Wilf to be there. Then we'll have a Special Chapter. Let everyone know, will you?"

"Yes, of course."

Anselm watched Father Prior disappear along the path, across a haze of blue and purple, his habit swaying in the breeze, his head bowed.

Anselm had met Detective Superintendent Milby several times in the past. In those days Milby had been a foot soldier with the drugs squad. He had long hair and dressed in jeans, but still managed to look like a policeman. Anselm had been a hack at the London Bar and their meetings had been limited to the pro-forma cross-examination about stitching up and excessive violence. Like all policemen familiar with the courts, Milby had taken it in his stride. That was well over ten years ago, and they'd both moved on since then.

Leaning against the stile gate, Anselm could almost smell the heavy scent of floor wax from his old chambers, and hear again the raucous laughter of competing voices in the coffee room. He smiled to himself, winsomely.

When Anselm left the Bar it caused a minor sensation, not least because it was such a wonderful Robing Room yarn. Since it was endemic to the profession to treat such things with private gravity and public levity, Anselm only heard the lowered voices of shared empathy: "Tell me, old son, is it true? You're off to a monastery? I can say this to you, but we've all got secret longings. The job's not everything..."

Anselm had knocked up ten years' call but, unknown to his colleagues, had never fully settled into harness. There was a restlessness that started to grow shortly after he became a tenant. Imperceptibly, he began to feel out of place, as if in a foreign land. There was another language, rarely spoken, and he wanted to learn it. Determined attempts to live a "normal" life as a professional man floundered at regular but unpredictable intervals. He could be waiting for a taxi or heading off to court, doing anything ordinary, and he would suddenly feel curiously alienated from his surroundings. It was a sort of homesickness, usually mild, and occasionally acute. He later called these attacks by stealth "promptings." All Anselm knew at the time was that they were vaguely religious in origin. He responded by purchasing various translations of the Bible and books on prayer, as if the answer to the puzzle lay somewhere between the pages. On one occasion he left a bookshop having ordered a thirty-eight-volume edition of the Early Church Fathers. They remained as they came, in three cardboard boxes strapped with tape and stacked in the corner of his living room, and used as an inelegant resting place for coffee-cups and take-away detritus. Anselm would then recover, and continue his life at the Bar until ambushed by another God-ward impulse. It was a sort of guerrilla war for which he was always unprepared and ill-equipped. And all the while his book collection became larger, more comprehensive, and unread. Eventually he stopped buying books. He realised one day whilst looking through a wide-angle lens that he wanted to become a monk.

It was a slightly odd experience. On leaving the Court of Appeal one late November afternoon, he was stopped in his tracks by a Chinese tourist who never ceased to smile. Several gesticulations later Anselm stood beneath the portal arch of the Royal Courts of Justice looking into the camera of a total stranger.

Suddenly he felt the urge to put the record straight, to say, "Look, you're mistaken. I'm not who or what you think I am; I'm a fraud." This happy man from a far away place had pushed an internal door ajar and Anselm knew at once what was on the other side. He set off down the steps with incomprehensible protestations ringing in his ears-from himself...and from the tourist who'd inadvertently nudged him away from the Bar. Taking the bus to Victoria, Anselm walked past the bookshop and into Westminster Cathedral, where he sat down beneath the dark interlocking bricks of the nave, and prayed. It was to be the only moment of near certainty in Anselm's subsequent religious life. The jostling between doubt and perseverance was to come later. But at that time he understood, at last, what the underlying problem had been. It had been Larkwood Priory all along.

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"Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters)." —USA Today

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Larkwood Priory, England: Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselm's response: claim sanctuary. But the answer sets off more trouble than he ever could have imagined when the man returns, demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.

Agnes Aubret has unburdened a secret to her granddaughter Lucy. Fifty years earlier, Agnes was in occupied Paris, risking her life to smuggle Jewish children to safety—until her group was exposed by an SS officer: Eduard Schwermann.

Not only has the Church granted Schwermann sanctuary before; in 1944 it helped him escape from France to begin a new life in Britain. As Anselm attempts to find out why and as Lucy delves deeper into her grandmother's past, their investigations dovetail to form a remarkable story.
 
William Brodrick makes a dazzling debut in this literary thriller where two seemingly unconnected lives gradually, shockingly converge. Brodrick, himself a former Augustinian friar, is a master of precision plotting, morally complex characterization, and crisp historical re-creation. In Father Anselm, Brodrick has crafted a unique and compelling hero. Taut and completely compelling, The 6th Lamentation promises to be the literary thriller discovery of the season.

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CHAPTER ONE

"Sanctuary."

"My bottom!"

"Honestly."

The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.

"It was abolished ages ago. He can't be serious."

"Well, he is," said Anselm.

"When did he come out with that one?"

"This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave."

The Prior scowled. "I suppose he declined to oblige?"

"Yes. And he told Wilf there's nowhere he can go."

The two monks were sitting on a wooden bench on the south transept lawn of the Old Abbey ruin. It was Anselm's favourite spot at Larkwood. Facing them, on the South Walk cloister wall, were the remnants of the night stairs from the now vanished dorter. He liked to sit here and muse upon his thirteenth-century ancestors, cowled and silent, making their way down for the night hours. The lawn, eaten by moss, spread away, undulating towards the enclosure fencing and, beyond that, to the bluebell path which led to the convent. It was a sharp morning. The Prior had just come back from a trip to London, having managed to miss the main item on all news bulletins. He'd returned home to find a gaggle of reporters and television crews camped on his doorstep.

"Give it to me again, in order," said the Prior. He always insisted upon accurate chronologies.

"The story broke in a local newspaper of all places. By the time the nationals had got to his home he was here, claiming the protection of the Church."

"What did Wilf say?"

"Words to the effect that the police wouldn't pay any heed to Clement III."

"Who was Clement III?"

"The Pope who granted the Order the right of sanctuary."

"Trust Wilf to know that." Disconcerted, he added, "How did you know?"

"I had to ask as well."

"That's all right then." He returned to his mental listing. "Go on, then what?"

"Wilf rang the police. The first I knew about anything was when the media were at the gates. I had a few words with them, batting back daft questions."

Father Andrew examined his nails, flicking his thumb upon each finger. "But why claim sanctuary? Where did he get the idea from?"

Anselm shifted uncomfortably. He would answer that question at the right moment, not now. It was one of the first lessons Anselm had learnt after he'd placed himself subject to Holy Obedience: there's a time and a place for honesty, and it is the privilege of the servant to choose the moment of abasement with his master.

The Prior stood and paced the ground, his arms concealed beneath his scapular. He said, "We are on the two horns of one dilemma."

"Indeed."

They looked at each other, silently acknowledging the delicacy of the situation. The Prior spoke for them both:

"If he goes, there'll be international coverage of an old man protesting his innocence being handed over to the police; if he stays, we'll be damned for supporting a Nazi. Either way, to lapse into the vernacular, we're shafted."

"Succinctly put."

The Prior leaned on a sill beneath an open arcade in the south transept wall, reflectively brushing loose lichen with the back of his hand. Anselm joined him.

"Father, I think one horn is shorter than the other and more comfortably straddled."

"Go on."

"The sooner he leaves the better. Otherwise we risk protracted public fascination with why he came here in the first place."

By a tilt of the head the Prior drew Anselm away, leading him towards the stile gate and the bluebell path. "I'm going to find out what the sisters think. They had a Chapter this morning."

As they walked through the grass, wet with dew, Anselm pursued his point. "If he's forced to go now, any uproar will be short-lived. And there is an explanation we can give in the future if we get hammered for throwing an innocent man onto the street."

"Which is?"

"This is a monastery, not a remand home for the elderly." Anselm was pleased with the phrase. It was pithy and rounded: a good sound bite...prepared earlier.

The Prior nodded, mildly unimpressed. Anselm persevered, eyeing the Prior as he'd often eyed judges in another life when trying to read their minds.

"The alternative is the other, longer horn. If he moves in, and that's what it will amount to, we're in trouble. There could be a trial." Anselm paused. "Nothing we say will convince any victims that we're not on his side."

They reached the stile and the Prior climbed over onto the path, gathering his black habit under one arm, the white scapular thrown over one shoulder. Anselm sensed him drifting away, chasing private thoughts. "We should find out more tomorrow night. Detective Superintendent Milby's coming at six. I'd like you and Wilf to be there. Then we'll have a Special Chapter. Let everyone know, will you?"

"Yes, of course."

Anselm watched Father Prior disappear along the path, across a haze of blue and purple, his habit swaying in the breeze, his head bowed.

Anselm had met Detective Superintendent Milby several times in the past. In those days Milby had been a foot soldier with the drugs squad. He had long hair and dressed in jeans, but still managed to look like a policeman. Anselm had been a hack at the London Bar and their meetings had been limited to the pro-forma cross-examination about stitching up and excessive violence. Like all policemen familiar with the courts, Milby had taken it in his stride. That was well over ten years ago, and they'd both moved on since then.

Leaning against the stile gate, Anselm could almost smell the heavy scent of floor wax from his old chambers, and hear again the raucous laughter of competing voices in the coffee room. He smiled to himself, winsomely.

When Anselm left the Bar it caused a minor sensation, not least because it was such a wonderful Robing Room yarn. Since it was endemic to the profession to treat such things with private gravity and public levity, Anselm only heard the lowered voices of shared empathy: "Tell me, old son, is it true? You're off to a monastery? I can say this to you, but we've all got secret longings. The job's not everything..."

Anselm had knocked up ten years' call but, unknown to his colleagues, had never fully settled into harness. There was a restlessness that started to grow shortly after he became a tenant. Imperceptibly, he began to feel out of place, as if in a foreign land. There was another language, rarely spoken, and he wanted to learn it. Determined attempts to live a "normal" life as a professional man floundered at regular but unpredictable intervals. He could be waiting for a taxi or heading off to court, doing anything ordinary, and he would suddenly feel curiously alienated from his surroundings. It was a sort of homesickness, usually mild, and occasionally acute. He later called these attacks by stealth "promptings." All Anselm knew at the time was that they were vaguely religious in origin. He responded by purchasing various translations of the Bible and books on prayer, as if the answer to the puzzle lay somewhere between the pages. On one occasion he left a bookshop having ordered a thirty-eight-volume edition of the Early Church Fathers. They remained as they came, in three cardboard boxes strapped with tape and stacked in the corner of his living room, and used as an inelegant resting place for coffee-cups and take-away detritus. Anselm would then recover, and continue his life at the Bar until ambushed by another God-ward impulse. It was a sort of guerrilla war for which he was always unprepared and ill-equipped. And all the while his book collection became larger, more comprehensive, and unread. Eventually he stopped buying books. He realised one day whilst looking through a wide-angle lens that he wanted to become a monk.

It was a slightly odd experience. On leaving the Court of Appeal one late November afternoon, he was stopped in his tracks by a Chinese tourist who never ceased to smile. Several gesticulations later Anselm stood beneath the portal arch of the Royal Courts of Justice looking into the camera of a total stranger.

Suddenly he felt the urge to put the record straight, to say, "Look, you're mistaken. I'm not who or what you think I am; I'm a fraud." This happy man from a far away place had pushed an internal door ajar and Anselm knew at once what was on the other side. He set off down the steps with incomprehensible protestations ringing in his ears-from himself...and from the tourist who'd inadvertently nudged him away from the Bar. Taking the bus to Victoria, Anselm walked past the bookshop and into Westminster Cathedral, where he sat down beneath the dark interlocking bricks of the nave, and prayed. It was to be the only moment of near certainty in Anselm's subsequent religious life. The jostling between doubt and perseverance was to come later. But at that time he understood, at last, what the underlying problem had been. It had been Larkwood Priory all along.

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"Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters)." —USA Today

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

In this brilliant debut novel, William Brodrick draws upon his experience both as an Augustinian friar and as a practicing lawyer to create the unforgettable character of Father Anselm, a monk who must search the darkest corners of history to try to fathom the human capacity to do evil.

When Eduard Schwermann, an alleged Nazi war criminal, claims sanctuary at Larkwood Priory, the Church is thrown into a dilemma. Does it harbor him and risk a scandal in the media or cast him out into a world that wants to punish him for crimes he insists he did not commit? In the weeks leading up to Schwermann's trial, Father Anselm must find out why the Church had granted Schwermann sanctuary fifty years earlier—and apparently helped him escape from France and assume a new identity in Britain. As Anselm conducts his investigation, others quicken their own pursuit of the truth about Schwermann, about the Holocaust, and about their own tangled personal histories. Most significant among them is Agnes Aubret, a dying French expatriate who risked everything—and lost—to save children from the concentration camps. In the brief time that remains to her, she wants to bring Schwermann to justice, but must reveal her own startling past to do so.

A tale of great moral complexity, stunning reversals, and a Shakespearean tension between appearance and reality, The 6th Lamentation is both a fast-paced thriller and a moving meditation on truth, history, and the human predicament.

ABOUT WILLIAM BRODRICK

William Brodrick, in a career change that reverses Father Anselm's, was an Augustinian friar before leaving in order to become a practicing barrister. This is his first novel and Agnes's story is loosely based on the wartime experiences of his mother. He lives in France with his wife and their young children.

A CONVERSATION WITH WILLIAM BRODRICK

Could you describe the genesis of The 6th Lamentation? How does you own family history relate to the novel?

The novel springs from two sources. The first is personal. During the occupation of Holland my mother was part of a group who tried to smuggle Jewish children to safety. She was caught and imprisoned. The memory of what the Nazis did lay fresh upon her for the rest of her life. She talked little about her own experience, but always with a charged brevity. I wanted to write a memorial to her and that terrible time. The second source is rather prosaic. For a long time I had thought that a former lawyer who had become a monk—a natural blend of the practical and the reflective—would make an interesting character in fiction, especially if he was a person of faith who understood the troubled questions of today without possessing any trim answers. The novel grew from bringing together these two streams of interest.

As someone who left the monastery to become a lawyer, do you now see issues of justice more in terms of their legal or their theological implications? Or is it impossible to separate the two?

I cannot separate them. Or perhaps I should say the imperative to implement justice raises both juridical and theological questions. On the one hand we must constantly interrogate our legislative systems, asking whether they adequately recognise and enforce identified rights. But absolute justice is always elusive. Certain rights are not recognised; others are difficult to protect; and the law cannot restore to victims what they have lost, not least when it is their life. These reflections can prompt theological discourse, because we are confronting not so much the limitations of legal systems as the problem of evil, along with the mystery of God's relationship to the world. While these questions imply a standpoint of faith, it seems to me that everyone asks them at some point or another. My novel, and indeed anything else I may write, is very much concerned with this territory. Incidentally, I chose the name 'Anselm' for my character, after the medieval saint, lawyer and theologian, because for him the starting point lay in faith seeking understanding, not understanding seeking faith. These are deep but inviting waters.

The 6th Lamentation shares characteristics of both tragedy and comedy, with the final family reunion scene serving nearly the same function as a wedding in that it brings about a number of reconciliations. Do you think your book is, in the end, an affirmative, optimistic story?

Emphatically so, but the tragedy remains what it is. This is important. It is human beings who transcend circumstances, not circumstances that turn out to be not so bad after all. This is the mysterious nature of the human spirit that I tried to explore through Agnes: she survives, but not at the expense of the experience that, in fact, overwhelmed her. She has reached this almost mystical state of self-possession even before any reconciliation with the past and her family have occurred (at least, I think so). Indeed, by the end of the novel all the main characters have come to an inner resolution of sorts. Taken together, they presage something greater than their personal journeys. The reunion scene, then, has an eschatological quality: it is the gathering in of broken pieces, without taking anything away from what went wrong. In fact, it is not just restoration, but benediction, for Agnes finds herself the head of a family she knew nothing about. And yet the memory of those who were lost is ever present. The most telling 'reunion', however, occurs elsewhere, and it is the beginning of a relationship: that of Salomon Lachaise and Max. This is a reconciliation in the most unthinkable of places. From this perspective, I suppose the whole novel is a statement that all will be well, and all manner of things will be well, regardless of what may happen. It should be noted that the last line of the book is given to those that were taken away.

Much of the novel's plot revolves around misjudgements and false appearances. Why have you made these such prominent features of your book?

In a sense this was not a decision—it emerged in the writing. But since the novel, in part, explores the importance of forgiveness, I did want to stress the consequences of apparently justified condemnation. Throughout the narrative everybody has good reasons for the erroneous judgments they make. But assumptions are allowed too much root room. As a result everyone suffers. Father Chambray even leaves his Priory. The role of the Church seems deceptive, but another complexion emerges when all the facts are known. The irony, however, is that where right judgement was possible, the opportunity was defeated by a failure to see the evidence for what it was. As Salomon Lachaise bitterly observes, Schwermann was exactly what he appeared to be.

What, in your view, is the moral value of getting history right? Are we in danger of forgetting the Holocaust now that those who experienced it will soon be gone?

I think it was Santayana who said that unless we remember the past we are condemned to repeat it. Hence it is a matter of duty. But history is also about honouring and preserving memory and that, too, is a moral imperative. These twin obligations are never exhausted, for 'getting it 'right' is a matter of constantly refining our understanding. This is one of the reasons why the book is so concerned with words and the fragility of language: in the end that is all that we will have; the witnesses, of necessity, pass on. Thus, I believe the Holocaust will be remembered, if only because of the reverence, quality and commitment of modern scholarship. If there is a danger, it lies perhaps in a complacency to which we are all prone: that species of wilful ignorance whereby knowledge of detail is left to professionals. This can blind us to the implications of circumstances that should stand out as a warning. Then the informed individual becomes the prophet shouting from a sideline. And it is frequently the lot of prophets to be at least misunderstood if not rejected.

What are you working on now? Do you have an idea for your next book? Will we see Father Anselm again?

My next book involves Father Anselm revisiting a trial that was the foundation of his reputation. Or, rather, the trial revisits him. A lawyer involved in the case dies leaving a key to a safety deposit box. Its contents demonstrate that Anselm has been the unwitting agent of a moral catastrophe. Here, I suspect, is what Graham Greene called 'the pattern in the carpet'—the recurring preoccupations of an author that define his or her work—for once more I find myself writing about appearances, the potency of the past and the awful paradox of culpability without blame.

What writers have been most important to your own work?

I can't point to any conscious influences. Intuitively, I suspect I'm indebted somehow to Richard Powers. The writer who has most influenced me (as opposed to my work) is probably Thomas Merton. That said, Aristotle, Aquinas, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Moltmann, Rahner, Sobrino and a host of others have all marked my thinking. As for technique, I bore in mind Bertrand Russell's short and invaluable essay 'How to write', which contains some wonderful maxims for expository prose. I also plundered the letters of C S Lewis who was frequently asked by young people for advice on the craft of writing. The replies, often a half page in length, are gold dust.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Many books, both fiction and nonfiction, have been written about the Holocaust. What makes The 6th Lamentationdistinctive? What does it add to our knowledge about the Holocaust and its aftermath?
     
  • In his introduction, William Brodrick writes that Anselm is not to be taken as "someone who has the answer to why evil often seems to prevail over what is good, but as a companion to anyone who asks the question." What makes Anselm such a capable companion to anyone who ponders the balance of good and evil in the world? What kind of person is he? What virtues does he demonstrate throughout the novel? What are his weaknesses?
     
  • Agnes is the great matriarch of the novel. In what ways does her life as a mother and grandmother define her? How does her writing, and the revelations it contains, change the lives of those around her?
     
  • After Agnes learns that she has only a short time left to live, she says to herself, "Loose ends are only tied up in books" and pushes aside "the lingering, irrational hope that her life might yet be repaired by a caring author" [p. 5]. In what ways are the loose ends of her life tied up in this book? What are the parallels between the novelist and God as authors of individual human stories?
     
  • When Anselm visits Rome and the Vatican, Father Conroy warns him: "Be careful. Don't go by appearances. Nothing's what is seems here" [p. 89], an observation that recurs in other contexts throughout the novel. Does the Church play a deceptive role in the story? Where else in the novel do we find that things are not what they seem?
     
  • When Pascal Fourges announces that he's going to try to find Schwermann, his father tells him "…we cannot make a synthesis of the past, and there comes a time when we have to forgive what we can, when it is better to forget what cannot be forgiven." Pascal replies that "it's about history. Getting it right" [p. 157]. Should Pascal have pursued Schwermann? What are the consequences, both good and bad, of that decision? Why is it so important to get history "right"?
     
  • What motivates Anselm, Lucy, and Salomon La Chaise to strive so relentlessly to bring Eduard Schwermann to justice? How are their motivations both similar and different?
     
  • Anselm asks, "What, then, was the Sixth Lamentation: the tragedy of a people or a personal testament?" [p. 63]. Which is it in your view? In what ways are historical and personal tragedies interwoven in the novel? How does history affect family and, through family, the lives of individuals?
     
  • Near the end of the novel, Victor tells Anselm, "It's all been an inexplicable mix of misfortune and luck. But since I am a religious man, I suppose I should look to Providence. Only that rather complicates things, don't you think? Because there's no accounting for the graces received, set against what went wrong, without hindrance, for so long" [p. 343]. Are the events that lead to the novel's climatic reconciliations the result of luck or Providence, blind chance or God's will?
     
  • What are the major surprises and reversals that occur in The 6th Lamentation? What effect do these have on the reader's sense of certainty about what is true and not true in the novel? What does the novel as a whole suggest about the instability of appearances and the danger in jumping to conclusions?
     
  • At the end of the novel, Anselm tells Father Andrews: "Almost without exception, I misunderstood everything.... The list of misjudgments is too long to enumerate...all from prejudice, loose thinking, fancy" [p. 369]. What are Anslem's most significant misjudgments? To what extent is nearly everyone in the novel guilty of misinterpreting what has happened? In what sense is the entire novel about the dangers of rushing to judgment?
     
  • The 6th Lamentation ends with a moving family reunion, where true identities are revealed and true relations reestablished. Why is this the right way to end the novel? In what ways does this scene heal and to some degree reverse the Nazi horrors of fifty years before?
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2010

    Slow

    The book is a little slow and has a lot of characters that don't seem to connect right away. It was a good book but certainly not the best on this period of history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2004

    Very satisfying read

    This book draws you in slowly at the beginning, and the gradual development of the characters and story is very satisfying. I didn't feel 'rushed' while reading this book as I do some thrillers, but nonetheless I didn't want to put it down. This would make a great book club read for discussion.

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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    Posted April 30, 2009

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