The Brothers' Lot
A hilarious and satirical debut novel exploring religious hypocrisy in an Irish grade school.
Combining the spirit of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim with a bawdy evisceration of hypocrisy in old-school Catholic education, The Brothers' Lot is a comic satire that tells the story of the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means, a dilapidated Dickensian institution run by an assemblage of eccentric, insane, and often nasty celibate Brothers. The school is in decline and the Brothers hunger for a miracle to move their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O'Rahilly, along the path to Sainthood.
When a possible miracle presents itself, the Brothers fervently seize on it with the help of the ethically pliant Diocesan Investigator, himself hungry for a miracle to boost his career. The school simultaneously comes under threat from strange outside forces. The harder the Brothers try to defend the school, the worse things seem to get. It takes an outsider, Finbar Sullivan, a young student newly arrived at the school, to see that the source of the threat may in fact lie inside the school itself. As the miracle unravels, the Brothers' efforts to preserve it unleash a disastrous chain of events.
Tackling a serious subject from the oblique viewpoint of satire, The Brothers' Lot explores the culture that allowed abuses within church-run institutions in Ireland to go unchecked for decades. The novel inhabits a space where Angela's Ashes meets the work of Flann O'Brien and Mervyn Peake, while providing a look at a regrettable era that still haunts many countries across the globe.
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