Two novels reviewed by J. KEIVIP
Mask of the Andes. by Jon Cleary. (Collins. £1_50)
SOUTH AMERICA is not an unusual setting for a contemporary novel. but it is unlikely that there is in existence a better book about a modern missionary priest, than Jon Cleary's latest publication.
AS is to be expected from Jon Cleary. the story has all the elements of a thriller. but it does not rely merely on an exciting plot. the characters are drawn with great sensitivity and the South American situation is closely observed.
It would be a pity to spoil the enjoyment . of thousand., of potential read, r this book will have and deserves. by revealing any of the plot. However, one cannot resist mentioning the tine characterisation of Fr. Mc Kenna. a modern, post-Vatican II missionary priest, struggling with the natural suspicions he encounters as a missionary from the rich United States working amongst the estrerne poverty of an Indian Settlement in Bolivia He becomes involved in the social and revolutionary aspirations of his flock. and these contuse his own spiritual mission to the extent that he
has doubts about the Church's ruling on celibacy.
An exciting story, a brilliant book.
With O'Leary in the Grave, lames Carrick. (Heinemann, £1.80)
NORTHERN IRELAND is a problem which has defied solation 1 he author of thr. two.] has le, allover to offer and there is tau obvious message. yet he succeeds in understanding the situation better than most politicians.
Janos Carrick has drawn eharaeo • s which are fist tonal. though they have a greater air ot sisart them than many t Iltr ,. and women who n _.,r . our I V
screens. .v S1).■.) hod epherothtl fame or infamy in the columns of newspapers when troubles occur in Belfast or 1 ondonderry, fle has drawn a fictional thread through the alltoo real and tragic situation in NorthernIreland
The book is enthralling as a move!. simple in style. direct in what it has to say. not flamboyant but stark. It offers little hope for the future but it does succeed in conveying to the reader how such a situation could arise