Life’s ironies are plenty. It saddens me to a great extent that I am writing a review of this book even as the news about Asifa’s case from Kathua has broken out. The case, it’s charge sheet, the criminals and everything has brought forth what no one imagined – a vivid sense of disbelief that anyone could defend the criminal and the crime because of their shared religious beliefs. Humans in my country seem to have prioritised religion before humanity. A shame for all of us.
The Lost Children is a book that deals with rape and abuse. The book starts with a priest, Father Kennedy, who drops dead at the altar and sparks off an investigation. Oonagh O’Neil is a journalist who is working on an expose on the Magdalene institutes. She was working with Father Kennedy’s colleague, Father Tom. Oonagh tips her friend Alec Davies, a DI, about this and he begins investigating. And it really opens up a can of worms.
The Lost Children goes back and forth, albeit not too often, between 1958 & 2000. In the past, the chapters deal with Irene and her plight. Being raped by her father, giving birth to a son who was taken away after birth and being condemned again after getting pregnant the second time. She gets handed over to a Magdalene institute and undergoes grotesque abuse. Eerie enough to make the reader want to condemn the characters inflicting such brutality upon children. The one moment of joy came up when Irene and her friends escape. But fate, that fickle creature, has other plans. Somehow in the future, Irene and Oonagh are destined to meet. It is a circumstance that makes one feel a mix of half a dozen emotions at least. These are two women who generations apart still feel the same sense of loss and betrayal in their lives.
The Lost Children is a book that thrilled with its mystery and made me feel more than a little sad about the abuse. The writing was succinct and the dialect added a certain effect to bring the world of Glasgow alive in its pages. What The Lost Children does do in great effect is shine light on the world of all those who’ve suffered at the hands of the society, the religion and the people whom they believed and trusted.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars