the next good book


By Emma Donoghue


252 pages

What’s it about?

Artt is an important scholar and priest in Ireland in 600 A.D.  While visiting a monastery he has a vivid dream.  He will sail away from this monastery with two other priests and leave the sinful world behind.   The next day he tells the Abbot of his plan.  When he approaches the two priests (he has seen them both in his dream) they are both flattered and do not question his vision.  The three men sail to a remote island called Skellig Michael and begin a new life.

What did it make me think about?

Where is the fine line between faith and fanaticism?

Should I read it?

Emma Donoghue can create tension in a scene like no other.  This is a book about being trapped on a small island with a man who is so full of faith and conviction he does not question himself.  I found the historical details interesting- especially as they illuminated the lives of the monks.  Even though the subject matter sounds as if it might be slow (three monks on a small island- where nothing really happens…)  Ms. Donoghue has managed to write a book that keeps you interested. Very impressive.


“Artt dislikes these legends in which God takes away all his followers’ troubles.  Mere wishful thinking, like pagan stories of magic by another name.  How do such fantasies fit men to live in this world, or find their way to a better one?”

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