Escape from Grievous Faults – John Fitzgerald

A dark heart-stopping novel… set in a land gripped by fear, repression, and sectarian thought control!

There were two maps of Ireland in the mid 20th century: one showed the cities and towns… the mountains, rivers and lakes. The other map hung in the office of Reverend Brother Drack, feared administrator of Grievous Faults Industrial School.

It was sprinkled with dots of different colours, each indicating a type of punishment centre: Pink for the ones where girls were detained, blue for boys, and purple for single mothers.
Eleven year old Joey McLaughlin, snatched from his family in a rural town for robbing an orchard, is sent to Grievous Faults, where he dreams of escape from the horrors that threaten to engulf his existence.

His friend Noreen is sent to a punishment centre for the same offence, and Tess McCarthy is banished to a Magdalene Laundry for the crime of conceiving out of wedlock. Brother Paul, a conscientious man who opposes corporal punishment, struggles to confront the living nightmare that is Grievous Faults industrial school.

Meanwhile, Tess’s brother Stephen is fighting with the paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA) in a romanticised bid to expel the British from the northern six counties of Ireland. But it gradually dawns on him that Southern Ireland is in the grip of a deeply oppressive theocracy that overshadows his naive idealism.

Can Joey escape? Will he see his dear friend Noreen again? Can Stephen, on the run from two police forces, find a way to free Tess?

This utterly compelling novel reveals all, with its riveting and darkly comic portrayal of 1950s Ireland. But you’ll have to read right through to the end to find the answers. And you won’t rest till you’ve read the last line on the last page.

Adventure…horror…excitement…suspense. You’ll be gripped from the beginning and may well be tempted to believe the monstrous Brother Drack when he warns: There can be no escape from Grievous Faults.


John Fitzgerald on Book of the Day .org