Mercy : a novel /
Alissa York.
Harrison, NY : Delphinium, c2003.
323 p. ; 22 cm.
1883285259, 9781883285258
More Details
Harrison, NY : Delphinium, c2003.
catalogue key
Purchase; DSO; 2012; RB296538.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-09-01:
Lord have mercy on Mercy, Manitoba, a medium-sized town filled with people who live lives of monumental desperation. This two-part novel, nominated for Canada's McNally Robinson Award for Best Book in 2003, begins in June 1948 when Father August Day, a handsome misfit, arrives at St. Mary Immaculate Church. His first task is to conduct a wedding between 19-year-old Mathilda Nickels and middle-aged butcher Thomas Rose. What follows is a tale of sexual obsession, religious hypocrisy, and human betrayal. Grim and ultimately tragic, Mercy unfolds slowly. In the book's second section, set 55 years later, we're made privy to successive generations and zero in on the pathology and heartbreak transmitted from one era to the next. It's heavy stuff poignantly rendered. While the ending is ambiguously hopeful, one cannot help but feel the pall of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Richly detailed readers will easily picture Mercy in their heads this novel captures time, place, and feeling with haunting simplicity. Highly recommended. Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn Short stories (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-10-04:
Lust and sin grapple with religious piety in this moving, occasionally overwrought novel by Canadian writer York. As August Day's first duty as priest of St. Mary's church in Mercy, Manitoba, in 1948, he marries the kindly but dull town butcher, Thomas Rose, to Mathilda Nickels, the orphaned niece of the church's housekeeper. Immediately overcome by lust for handsome August, virginal Mathilda refuses to consummate her marriage-that is, until she seduces the priest, becomes pregnant with his child and needs to keep Thomas from finding out. York develops this triangular relationship with frequent flashbacks to each protagonist's miserable childhood, alternately focusing on the town drunk, Castor Wylie. The plot can feel schematic, and the grisly denouement of Mathilda and August's sinning is telegraphed early on. But in the novel's second half, set in 2003, readers will find some gripping characters-an autistic child, a woman who lives in a bog, another sinful man of the cloth-that propel the story into new, genuinely surprising territory. York's unflinching but tender eye for the natural world results in graceful ballets of description: butchering techniques have seldom been described in such precise, loving detail, and the flora and fauna of the bog are invested with vibrant individuality. York is a gifted writer whose next novel will no doubt be a more consistent work of emotional power. Agents, Denise Bukowski and Janette Shipston. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, September 2004
Library Journal, September 2004
Publishers Weekly, October 2004
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