Tuesday 16 April 2019

#BlogTour Pilgrim by Loiuse Hall

Today it's the BlogTour Pilgrim by Louise Hall. It's contemporary fiction with spiritual, theological and addiction issues woven into the fabric of the story.
About the Author
Louise Hall is from Malahide, Co. Dublin. She has previously published two works of non-fiction, Medjugorje: What it Means to Me and Medjugorje and Me: A Collection of Stories from Across the World. Her fiction has been published in The Irish Times and been shortlisted for numerous competitions, such as the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Award, the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Competition and the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. Pilgrim is her debut novel.

Follow @LouHallWriter on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit louisehall.ie
Buy Pilgrim
About the book
In Dublin, fourteen-year-old Jen and her father, Charlie, are struggling to cope with the death of their mother/wife. Charlie, in particular, seems to have given up on life. When Jen's aunt, Suzanne, convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to a strange village in Yugoslavia, there is hope that some solace or healing may be brought to their broken lives.

On their arrival, however, they find a village in upheaval. An influx of pilgrims have swarmed into the village, each looking for their own miracle. Then there are the local police, who aim to suppress this so-called `revolution'. Amid all this, Jen makes a friend, Iva - one of the children who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary.

Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong. A nuanced and moving exploration of grief and faith. Unique subject matter based around the famed Medjugorje apparitions. The author already has a dedicated readership built up from her two non-fiction books on Medjugorje. This is her first fictional take on the story.

The majority of the book is based upon the Medjugorje apparitions. Medjugorje is a small village in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The area is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1981 six Herzegovinian children claimed to see the 'Gospa' (which is Croatian for lady), when they returned to the same place the next day they saw her again. This time she spoke to them.

All of the above is based on a true story.

The fictional family in this story travels to the village on a pilgrimage. The father thinks it is a bunch of rubbish, but for the young daughter, Jen, it is a glimmer of light in a life filled with fog. After the death of her mother she is struggling to be seen by her father, a man who is drowning in grief. He can do nothing other than wallow in his loss.

Humans like miracles, especially people who find comfort and security in religion and faith. They flock to places that purport to see and experience connections to God. Often in the hope they will experience their own miracle or enlightenment. It's certainly an interesting phenomenon.

The Yugoslav wars are only hinted upon, aside from the mention of militia and the chapter on the priest in prison. The author doesn't really go into the atrocities, mass murder, rapes and genocide. I think that was done intentionally, so the focus would be on faith and grief.

For me this was all about how we are linked and connected without knowing it, especially when we live in the same geographical areas. Without being aware of it we are all dominoes on a global stage and when one of us topples we inadvertently touch or hit the next person in the row. It's also about coping with grief, with loss and trying to reconnect as a family.

It's contemporary fiction with spiritual, theological and addiction issues woven into the fabric of the story.

Buy Pilgrim at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: The Mercier Press Ltd (14 Sept. 2018)

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