The Edge of Sadness


The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor a novel of much depth and understanding. It talks of priests as human beings beneath the cassock and the roman collar. There is an emotional person with his own imperfections and gullibility. Father Hugh Kennedy in an unnamed town is torn asunder when his beloved dad dies after a long suffering. Its as if the world falls from under his feet, he goes into alcoholism, because that was an emotional support he lost terribly. His bishop reprimands him and gives him a chance, but he fails again miserably, resulting in having to spend 3 years in a reformatory school. Charlie Carmody is a cantankerous old billionaire, bought up the hard way and has little love for his children and his wife whom he berates daily. Towards the end of his life when he turns 82 he throws a party inviting close family and friends including Father Hugh. He gets the remorse that none of his children love him and will not miss him. Charlie’s son John is also a priest and a school friend of Father Hugh. Father John grew up under the tough upbringing of his father with little love from him. Both the Fathers get talking to each other as they are meeting after a long time. At one point Father John says”   My day is spent in listening to one continuous whine. the same troubles i’ve heard for thirty years, the same complaints, the same gossip, the same trivialities. I am priest, not a waste paper basket.” Father John’s sister Helen was a rebel in the house, but she married to escape her father and the house. Her sister Mary did not marry and she was the one who got bullied by her father after her mother died. The edge of sadness is everywhere and visible in everyone’s lives. Goodreads 5/5

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