After I finished reading Emma Donoghue’s new novel Haven(August 23, 2022) I made the mistake of reading reviews of the book. That helped me know that I should recommend it to my readers with all due diligence. No it does not have a riveting plot. Yes it is about three monks in the 7th century, not a very elaborately costumed time for the men. No it is not simply an indictment of the Catholic Church, nor can it be reduced so tidily to any set meaning. No it is not a primer on “getting back to nature.”
Haven is a meditation on vision, authority, discernment, obedience, and community. I am still thinking about it some days later. Three men set out to establish a monastery on an empty rock off the coast of Ireland. The rock is the setting. The monks are the characters. Any contemplation is the reader’s job. I take to contemplation easily, so the book found in me an ideal reader. Most reviewers didn’t take to it.
You know yourself best. Let me know if you do read it and what you think about it. Thanks.