SAVING FAITH by Patrick M. Garry
Kenric Books, Eagan, MN
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9780983370314, $14.95, 304 pp.
Quoting from the back cover:
“Because of a misguided medical diagnosis as an orphaned child, Jack Fenien was never adopted. Now, two years after leaving the orphanage, he works as a repossessor for a used car dealer.
“One night, he enters a bar looking for Ev Sorin, whose car Jack has mistakenly towed. Expecting violent anger, he is surprised when Ev reacts with indifference; but as Jack soon discovers, Ev – a disgraced journalist – has bigger problems on his mind.
“The next day, in the same courthouse to which Jack and Ev have gone to arrange for the release of Ev’s car from the impound lot, a nurse and young woman sit in a crowded courtroom opposite a row of lawyers, asking the judge to keep alive a comatose patient whose true identify is unknown but who has been given the name Faith Powers. After the hearing, Ev seeks out the nurse - not for years has he done a real story, and he feels a sudden urge to be a journalist again. It is an urge that will connect Jack with Clare, the troubled young woman who appears to have an almost fanatical attachment to Faith. Intrigued with Jack’s role as a repossessor, Clare sees him as a kind of modern moral prophet.
“Although the characters initially focus on investigating Faith’s real identity, they eventually come to use Faith as a catalyst for changing their own lives. But not until a seemingly random shooting occurs in the city do the characters become truly immersed in the mysteries of the patient and of each other.
“Saving Faith is a rare accomplishment, a philosophical novel of ideas with an allegorical structure and popular appeal. Insightful satire and wit display the range of Garry’s fiction. His greatest appeal as a writer, beyond even his talent of allegory, is his overall perspective and elegiac tone, both here and in his deeply moving previous novel In the Shadow of War. His writing has a soul. It is redemptive and sustains a loving spirit of compassion, sacrifice and transcendence. Midwest Book Review”
Saving Faith is a novel that lingers in your mind, as though it were written by a Zen master. Are there happy endings, what is happiness, what is your perspective? It seems like a simple story until you try to relate it to someone and then its complexity surfaces. The heart of this novel and why it lingers is the orphan Jack Fenien’s perspective about life and love. Most of us are not orphans and have families which have had an impact on our lives. We are part of a family, have memories, photos, take it for granted and blame parents for our problems.
Yes, Saving Faith is a fictional novel; however, Patrick Garry does an excellent job of presenting a perspective on life from one no one wanted, one who understood disappointment at being rejected, one who saw casual sex as the making of more unwanteds. This is not your typical mystery-romance novel with a happy ending…it’s definitely more convoluted.
Patrick Garry is an excellent writer with a gift for connecting with his readers in a subtle yet provocative way. Saving Faith is well written, well edited, and highly recommended.
Kaye Trout – May 20, 2013