"Songs of the Sabbath," the debut novel by renowned Irish-Canadian playwright Frank Flynn, takes the reader on a journey across continents, family, and faith.
Any Irish reader will quickly relate to the main character, 12-year-old Mickey Ronan, whose father, Paddy, an Irish immigrant living in Toronto, has just passed away. Mickey is staring down his pending confirmation, struggling with Sister Mary Battle Axe at school, and also worrying about what will become of his Ma, sister Mairie, and brother Donell. While set in 1940s Toronto, the story feels as though it could be taking place anywhere the Irish find themselves.
The uniqueness of "Songs of the Sabbath" is the way Flynn weaves Moishe and Ruth Kaminer into Mickey’s life. With their recent escape from Germany, and having to leave their son David behind, the Kaminers arrive unexpectedly in Toronto. When their lives collide, we discover that a boy seeking a father, and a father seeking a son, can find each other right around the corner at a deli.
Incredibly well researched, the chapters that take us back to Germany to young David Kaminer, while difficult to read, are exquisitely written.
When we do finally get a glimpse of Paddy Ronan’s relationship with the Kaminers, we are also deeply reminded of the humanity of the immigrant experience truly crossing all boundaries of faith and culture.
This book is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in Irish immigrant life in the 1930s/40s era in North America, or anyone who loves a beautifully written book of historical fiction. "Songs of the Sabbath" is available for purchase here.
Looking for Irish book recommendations or to meet with others who share your love for Irish literature? Join IrishCentral’s Book Club on Facebook and enjoy our book-loving community.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.