Faith: Book summary and reviews of Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Faith

A Novel

By Jennifer Haigh

Faith
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  • Published in USA  May 2011,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

In the spring of 2002, a perfect storm hits Boston: trusted priests are accused of the worst possible betrayal. Faith explores the fallout for one devout family.

Estranged from her family, Sheila McGann returns home when her older brother Art - a popular pastor - finds himself at the center of the maelstrom. Her strict mother is in a state of angry denial. Sheila's younger brother, Mike, has convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.

As secrets begin to surface, Faith explores the corrosive consequences of one family's history of silence - and the resilience it finds through forgiveness. A suspenseful tale of one woman's quest for the truth, Faith is a haunting meditation on loyalty and family, doubt and belief. Elegantly crafted, sharply observed, this is Jennifer Haigh's most ambitious novel to date.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. At its broadest, this is a frank and timely story of familial and institutional heredity; at its most personal, the novel is a devastating portrait of a priest who discovers that he's also a man." - Publishers Weekly

"Initially, the story is told more blandly than one would expect from the fine Haigh... by the end, though, the narrative is emotionally involving and ethically concise, reminding us that things are not always as they seem and that we must consider carefully how we judge others." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Haigh deals with complex moral issues in subtle ways, and her narrative is beautifully, sometimes achingly poignant." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Indelibly rendered characters, suspenseful pacing, and fearless but sensitive handling of a controversial subject will make this a must-read for book discussion groups." - BookList

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Malca
Faith
Well-written novel of a family facing a crisis. The reactions of the characters feel remarkably true. Highly recommended for book clubs.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Diane S.
Faith by Jennifer Haigh
When I first started reading this book I thought one would have to be Catholic to identify with this story but that was because the author did such a fantastic job with the tone and the setting. I could just picture my old neighborhood and Catholic school in Chicago, really felt like I was there again. When you read further, however, you realize there is so much more to this book and the problems it outlines could pertain to so many other things, anyone who reads the papers will find this relevant. How quick we are to judge without considering a person can be innocent but their lives are ruined nontheless and not just theirs but family and friends alike. This is probably one of the best novels I have read in a long time.

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Author Information

Jennifer Haigh Author Biography

Jennifer Haigh is a novelist and short story writer. Her first book, Mrs. Kimble, won the 2004 PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her second, Baker Towers, was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2006 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. Both have been published in nine languages. Other fiction has been published in Granta, Ploughshares, Five Points, Good Housekeeping and other places. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Jennifer Haigh is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She now lives in the Boston area but doesn't get out much. She maintains a large, lively circle of imaginary friends.

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