“Another Life” is a murder intrigue telling the story of a family returning to rural Ireland to find a better life. But it doesn't work that way, their dream soon is destroyed by the religiosity of the mother, by a son involved with a radical religious group and by the raging feud between the two brothers. The story takes place against the backdrop of the rural landscape of Erris in West Mayo, in the small towns of Bangor Erris, Ballina and Castlebar.
This overview was copied from bookadda.com:
“When Peter returns home to his farm house in Mayo he is surprised to see two policemen sitting at the front door. They accuse him of attacking his mother and brother and leaving them for dead. He visits them in Castlebar hospital, under police guard, and one of them dies. Peter is accused of the killing. He protests his innocence, but there is evidence that he cannot explain away. Peter has to defend not only himself from a charge of murder. He also has to protect the woman his brother deceived. Three people alternately accuse him and try to help him: Charlie Dempsey, a former IRA man who travels around Ireland to help former prisoners Sergeant Patrick O'Mahony, who is dealing with his own fall from grace, Father Patrick Keane, who cannot forgive the sins of the Catholic Church, three men who participate in the quest to find the killer. “
This was a hard novel to rate, hovering between being very captivated in the intrigue and skimming over paragraphs during the long myriad of religious overtones and of the numerous sidebars that kept interrupting the flow. Leaving me with mixed feelings and wondering what could have been the real essence behind the words other than to highlight how zealous religious beliefs could destroy a person and affect family and community. On one hand I loved the way the author has creatively shaped the murder investigation by gradually inserting a variation of twists to derail us from guessing the outcome, IMO he did this expertly. Another high point is the memorable characterization, long after reading the story I still see Brian, Peter and the terrible mother. On the other hand too much focus was put on the effect of radical ideas and the repetitiveness became an annoyance thus I felt many times dropping the book. Although in retrospect this wasn't a bad book by any means, it surely will not make it to the top of my best read for this year..