Office of Innocence: A Novel, by Thomas Keneally
Paperback in Very Good Condition
Thomas Keneally is a writer of extraordinary range: from Schindler’s List to The Great Shame his storytelling has engaged millions of readers. Now, after a brief departure into non-fiction, he is back with a novel as timely as it is enduring.
On the outskirts of Sydney, Father Frank Darragh is embarking on his new life of priesthood just as war erupts in the Pacific theater. American GIs pour into Father Darragh’s neighborhood, and with them comes a reminder of the atrocities abounding nearby. Determined to shun hypocrisy, the earnest priest finds himself constantly at odds with his superiors, who frown on his efforts to rescue an errant black soldier and pay deathbed visits to the wayward. But Frank Darragh persists, becoming his parish’s most popular confessor, particularly among wives of Australian servicemen who confront an array of temptations while their husbands are away.
One such parishioner, Kate Heggarty, turns the tables of temptation on young Darragh, challenging his spiritual beliefs and stirring a vulnerable place in his heart. When Kate is found murdered, his anguish is only compounded by accusations that he caused her death. Poignantly depicting the conflicts between the secular and the holy, and between the family of Darragh’s birth and the brotherhood of priests, OFFICE OF INNOCENCE is a tale set in the most compelling of circumstances. Drawing on his own experience studying for the priesthood in his youth, Thomas Keneally has created an endearing protagonist who speaks to the conundrums of our age while paying tribute to quiet heroes of the past.
“In the style of the best historians, [Keneally] allows the intrinsic power of the tales he tells and the people who populate his pages to draw the reader into a fully elaborated universe.”
-The New York Times