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Modern Gods

Cover of Modern Gods

Modern Gods

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Alison Donnelly has suffered for love. Still stuck in the small Northern Irish town where she was born, working for her father's real estate agency, she hopes to pick up the pieces and get her life back together. Her sister Liz, a fiercely independent college professor who lives in New York City, is about to return to Ulster for Alison's second wedding, before heading to an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to make a TV show about the world's newest religion. Both sisters' lives are about to be shaken apart. Alison wakes up the day after her wedding to find that her new husband has a past neither of them can escape. In a rainforest on the other side of the planet, Liz finds herself becoming increasingly entangled in the eerie, charged world of Belef, the subject of her show, a charismatic middle-aged woman who is the leader of a cargo cult.
Alison Donnelly has suffered for love. Still stuck in the small Northern Irish town where she was born, working for her father's real estate agency, she hopes to pick up the pieces and get her life back together. Her sister Liz, a fiercely independent college professor who lives in New York City, is about to return to Ulster for Alison's second wedding, before heading to an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to make a TV show about the world's newest religion. Both sisters' lives are about to be shaken apart. Alison wakes up the day after her wedding to find that her new husband has a past neither of them can escape. In a rainforest on the other side of the planet, Liz finds herself becoming increasingly entangled in the eerie, charged world of Belef, the subject of her show, a charismatic middle-aged woman who is the leader of a cargo cult.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 24, 2017
    Pulling from the real-life events of 1993, when a young supporter of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, a British loyalist paramilitary organization, shot up a small pub in Northern Ireland, Laird has written a truly superb novel exploring the possibilities and impossibilities of forgiveness. Protestant Kenneth and Judith Donnelly live in Ulster. They have three adult children: Liz has been living somewhat unhappily in the States after finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology; Allison has two small children and is planning to marry a mysterious local man whose background she hasn’t pushed to understand; and Spencer has a big secret of his own. Gathering at their parents’ house for Allison’s wedding, the family will have to confront the suddenly very personal echoes of the “troubles” of the past. Liz, meanwhile, will leave after the ceremony, on her own journey to a small island off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where she’ll be working on a BBC documentary. In a possibly heavy-handed move, Laird sends Liz to New Ulster, drawing a parallel between the two islands, thousands of miles apart, which seemingly share more than a name. “A lot of violence in these places,” Kenneth remarks, as Liz first announces her plans. “Where are ‘these places’?” Liz asks in turn, the very question Laird asks of himself and his readers. Though Liz’s experiences are salient, its Allison’s fate, thoroughly chilling and unsettling, that is the highlight.

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Modern Gods
Modern Gods
Nick Laird
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