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The Resource Mercy among the children : a novel, David Adams Richards

Mercy among the children : a novel, David Adams Richards

Label
Mercy among the children : a novel
Title
Mercy among the children
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
David Adams Richards
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Atlantic (Canada) Independent Booksellers' Choice Award, 2001.
  • CBA Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, 2001.
  • Giller Prize, 2000.
Review
  • At the age of 12, Sydney, believing he has accidentally killed a friend, vows to God that he will never harm another human being. Even as an adult, Sydney takes his vow so seriously that he will not defend himself or his family when they are falsely accused of various misdeeds. Forced to live in squalor, he and his family struggle against ridicule and persecution from the residents of the small Canadian town where they live. After a construction accident set up to frame Sydney results in the death of a young boy, Sydney’s son Lyle turns to violence. In the end, though, Lyle comes to see that his father was right about his enemies: “They who lift a hand against you do so against themselves.” Richards’ characters are well drawn, and his intricate plot is compelling. Winner of the 2000 Giller Prize for the best Canadian novel. (Reviewed August 1, 2001) -- Linda Zeilstra
  • There are few heroes and little cheer in this bleak novel set on the shores of the Miramichi River, where herbicides used by the local mill owner have leaked into the water, causing serious illness, miscarriages, and birth defects. Amid a cast of miscreants—a rich, powerful landowner, self-righteous academics, manipulative bureaucrats, and condescending do-gooders—Sydney Henderson stands out as a paragon of virtue among the exploited poor. Severely abused as a child, Sydney retreats into a world of books as solace from the grinding poverty, disregard for his self-education, false accusations of theft and murder, and outrageous government demands for payment of back taxes. But his stoic silence and his refusal to defend himself or exact revenge against his tormenters extend the poverty and ignominy to his long-suffering wife and children. Readers with sufficient fortitude for unrelenting misery and despair will find rewards in a harrowing and powerful novel that has already received Canada's prestigious Giller Prize for fiction. Recommended for all public libraries.—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. --Barbara Love (Reviewed October 15, 2001) (Library Journal, vol 126, issue 17, p110)
  • A commitment to nonviolence provokes a lengthening history of violent and destructive reprisals—in Toronto author Richards's thoughtful, unfortunately portentous tenth novel, which shared Canada's Giller Prize with Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost.The intense narrative is framed by a Prologue and Afterword in which 25-year-old Lyle Henderson, a native of rural New Brunswick's Miramichi River towns, grapples with the legacy of his father Sydney's saintly passivity. We soon learn (from Lyle) that as a boy Sydney had impulsively pushed another boy off a church roof, and thereafter (seeing his "victim" unharmed) vowed to God that he would never harm another human being. Richards's backward-and-forward narrative, whose major events occur throughout the 1970s and early '80s, gradually discloses the paradoxical harm occasioned by Sydney's resolute pacifism: he's accused (falsely) of robbery, arson, sabotaging a newly built bridge, fathering an illegitimate child, and neighbors inflict abuse and worse as well on his docile wife Elly, gentle albino daughter Autumn and Christlike innocent son Percy, as well as on their increasingly frustrated sibling Lyle. Do bad things happen to good people? Oh, they do, gentle reader, they do. If you think all of this sounds like Dostoevsky filtered through Hardy and early D.H. Lawrence, you're not far afield. The best confrontational moments here do achieve genuine drama, and the large cast accommodates several vividly drawn eccentrics and malcontents (the best being the casually satanic Mat Pit, the Hendersons' tireless mortal enemy). But Richards overloads the story with far too many windy debates about religion and ethics, and can't resist making broad caricatures of such peripheral figures as wealthy industrialist Leo McIver and ingenuous social worker Deirdre Whyne (!). Even worse are such thinly disguised authorial interpolations as Lyle's grandiose ham-fisted characterization of evil Mat Pit: "He—from a certain perspective—ruled our road and took that precious air from everyone else's dreams." Mercy Among the Children is of interest for the rugged integrity of its conception, design, and emotional intensity. Its prose is another story. (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
066079
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Richards, David Adams
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
New Brunswick
Label
Mercy among the children : a novel, David Adams Richards
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
414336
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781559705868
Lccn
2001022671
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781559705868
  • (Sirsi) ADD-3293
Label
Mercy among the children : a novel, David Adams Richards
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
414336
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781559705868
Lccn
2001022671
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781559705868
  • (Sirsi) ADD-3293

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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