The Brothers’ Lot by Irish author Kevin Holohan is his standalone satirical literary comedy novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Akashic Books.
This was a semifinalist for the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. This is a darkly comedic literary fiction novel set during an unspecified mid-20th century period of Ireland, when religiously-run institutional education was still predominant, using the lens of satire to examine the foibles, excesses, and abuses perpetuated by the Catholic Church of the time.
Offered DRM-free through midnight December 12th, available worldwide directly from the publisher as part of their holiday advent calendar promotion.
Free for a limited time until around midnight EST December 12th (I think the download stays up several hours longer, but the offer officially expires then) @ the the publisher’s blog (DRM-free ePub & Mobi available worldwide), and you can read more about the book and its author over at the regular catalogue page
You can also read a freebie online short story by the author, which is unrelated to the novel, but is also a literary satire set in modern Ireland: Team Players in the New Economy
Combining the spirit of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim with a bawdy evisceration of hypocrisy in old-school Catholic education, The Brothers’ Lot is a comic satire that tells the story of the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means, a dilapidated Dickensian institution run by an assemblage of eccentric, insane, and often nasty celibate Brothers. The school is in decline and the Brothers hunger for a miracle to move their founder, the Venerable Saorseach O’Rahilly, along the path to Sainthood.
When a possible miracle presents itself, the Brothers fervently seize on it with the help of the ethically pliant Diocesan Investigator, himself hungry for a miracle to boost his career. The school simultaneously comes under threat from strange outside forces. The harder the Brothers try to defend the school, the worse things seem to get. It takes an outsider, Finbar Sullivan, a young student newly arrived at the school, to see that the source of the threat may in fact lie inside the school itself. As the miracle unravels, the Brothers’ efforts to preserve it unleash a disastrous chain of events.
Tackling a serious subject from the oblique viewpoint of satire, The Brothers’ Lot explores the culture that allowed abuses within church-run institutions in Ireland to go unchecked for decades. The novel inhabits a space where Angela’s Ashes meets the work of Flann O’Brien and Mervyn Peake, while providing a look at a regrettable era that still haunts many countries across the globe.