Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book Review: Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan

It's quite difficult to review this book without spoiling the plotline. So if it seems rather general, I'm sorry. I really loved Andrew O'Hagan's writing, though. One of the quotes on the book said he "writes like an angel" and I'd have to agree.

This book reminds me of Gilead, both in writing style and content. It is narrated by a fifty-something priest, in a new diocese and lonely. As in Gilead, nothing really "happens" per se, it's simply the slow, unfolding story of his life. Fascinating and beautiful.

Here's a sample:

I can only say it now. At the centre of himself, a man cannot choose whom to love. He can choose how to live and can honour the truth of himself where he may. But he cannot choose whom to love, any more than he can choose how tall he is or how good. One can take up platform shoes or fine deeds, but the heart will always have the last word, and when the word is love we can recognise, we can respond, we can submit and we can try to ignore, but we can never choose. Love is not a matter of choice but an obdurate fact of surrender.


Bybee said...

Glad you had better luck with this one. I liked Gilead a lot, so I'd probably like this one as well.

Bookfool said...

That sounds lovely. I haven't read Gilead, yet, but I hope to get to it this year.