The Translation of the Bones

The Translation of the Bones

A Novel

Book - 2012
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Baker & Taylor
Volunteering at the local church, Mary-Margaret has a profound experience while cleaning a statue of Jesus and becomes obsessed with fulfilling what she believes to be sacred duties, while religious fervor spreads throughout her community.

Baker
& Taylor

Volunteering at the local church, Mary-Margaret, a dull and overweight girl who nearly everyone disregards, has a profound experience while cleaning a statue of Jesus and becomes obsessed with fulfilling what she believes to be sacred duties while religious fervor spreads throughout her community. By the award-winning author of An Equal Stillness.

Simon and Schuster
Mary-Margaret O'Reilly is seemingly a harmless enough young woman, ready and willing to help out Father Diamond in the Sacred Heart church in Battersea. She may not be very bright, and she is sadly overweight, but she can certainly clean. She is also very good with children, and helps out an Asian woman on her estate whose little boy Shamso is adorable.

It is the statue of Jesus on the cross Mary-Margaret is especially drawn to, and one day she decides to give Him a thorough and loving cleansing. But then something strange happens, and moments later she lies unconscious, a great gash in her head, blood on the floor. Word gets out that this strange happening is the opening of the statue's eyes and the flowing of blood from its head. Soon a full-scale religious mania descends on the quiet church, and everyone, from Father Diamond to his small but loyal band of parishioners, is affected by it. When she has recovered, Mary-Margaret returns to the church, and to her duties caring for her housebound and even fatter mother Fidelma. Among the parishioners, Stella Morrison meanwhile impatiently awaits the return of her son Felix from boarding school, and Alice Armitage the return of her much older son from Afghanistan.

Mary-Margaret goes back obsessively to the statue of Jesus. He has told her things, things she must act on, and urgently. But He has become remote and uncommunicative once again, and she is in despair. The act she decides on is a shocking one, and it will bring together the lives of the O'Reillys and the Morrisons in a way that will change their lives forever.

Francesca Kay's second novel, after the prize-winning AN EQUAL STILLNESS, is at once a profound meditation on the nature of faith and motherhood and a riveting story of passion gone tragically wrong.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451636819
1451636814
Characteristics: 227 p. ; 21 cm

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Zzoe
Mar 19, 2012

There was many things about this book that I liked. One strength was most of the main characters. I really like the different "mothers" in the story and how the relationships with their children and their families were all different, often predicated on life circumstances. The mother of the young son, however, I felt detracted from the story because the author backs away from her POV after a certain life-changing event (I don't want to spoil anything).

All in all an interesting read, but not an inspiring one.

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