Mercy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Mercy Hardcover – Jan 14 2003


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Jan 14 2003
CDN$ 109.02 CDN$ 13.69

2014 Books Gift Guide
Thug Kitchen is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (Jan. 14 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679311645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679311645
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.8 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,268,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The course of true love never did run smoothly, but in Alissa York's novel Mercy love often strikes its lonely, flawed characters with devastating results. The novel's narrative is divided between the stories of two priests, separated by 50 years, and their respective love affairs in a small Manitoba town, appropriately called Mercy. The novel opens in 1948 when the butcher Thomas Rose prepares to kill a cow. (Some of the tenderest moments in the novel concern Thomas butchering an animal.) Thomas falls in love with the orphan Mathilda, whose body makes him think of the lovely carcasses of does. Meanwhile, Mathilda falls in love with Father August Day, whom she first sees when he weds her to Thomas, and an illicit love affair ensues between the two. The second part of the novel jumps forward five decades to focus on another womanizing priest, named Carl, who visits Mercy with the aim of developing its bog area into a Christian camp. The priest attempts to penetrate the bog to confront Mary, the woman who lives there. An accident forces him to remain in her care while he heals, but the experience helps him regain more than just his sight. Redemption seems possible if not necessarily convincing.

The chapters' titles set the tone by alternating terms that could be found in a butchering manual with Latin religious phrases. York's captivating, poetic prose repeatedly reminds us that her characters are creatures of flesh, with all the frailty that derives from it. For example, Thomas's face is described as "an open rib cage, displaying his ardent heart." The key to the novel can be found in the bog--an untamed wilderness on the outskirts of Mercy that surely symbolizes the town's conscience. --Leah Eichler

From Publishers Weekly

Lust and sin grapple with religious piety in this moving, occasionally overwrought novel by Canadian writer York. As August Day's first duty as priest of St. Mary's church in Mercy, Manitoba, in 1948, he marries the kindly but dull town butcher, Thomas Rose, to Mathilda Nickels, the orphaned niece of the church's housekeeper. Immediately overcome by lust for handsome August, virginal Mathilda refuses to consummate her marriage—that is, until she seduces the priest, becomes pregnant with his child and needs to keep Thomas from finding out. York develops this triangular relationship with frequent flashbacks to each protagonist's miserable childhood, alternately focusing on the town drunk, Castor Wylie. The plot can feel schematic, and the grisly denouement of Mathilda and August's sinning is telegraphed early on. But in the novel's second half, set in 2003, readers will find some gripping characters—an autistic child, a woman who lives in a bog, another sinful man of the cloth—that propel the story into new, genuinely surprising territory. York's unflinching but tender eye for the natural world results in graceful ballets of description: butchering techniques have seldom been described in such precise, loving detail, and the flora and fauna of the bog are invested with vibrant individuality. York is a gifted writer whose next novel will no doubt be a more consistent work of emotional power.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Breckman on April 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
My guess is that the author had two different ideas for the same rural Manitoba setting and tried to tie them together. The result isn't wholly successful. The first part, which takes place in the late 1940s, is strong. The characters are convincing and compelling, and even though the writing suffers a little from the overly self-conscious literary style that seems to bedevil so much Canadian fiction, I was drawn into the story. I wish I could say the same for the second part, which takes place in the 1990s. There's a very forced quality to the characterization and the situation. The disbelief I had willingly suspended for the melodrama of the first part came crashing down. My suggestion to readers would be to read Mercy for the first part alone and consider it to be a reasonably accomplished novella.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Thornbirds Goes Gothic April 18 2003
By Sarah Breckman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My guess is that the author had two different ideas for the same rural Manitoba setting and tried to tie them together. The result isn't wholly successful. The first part, which takes place in the late 1940s, is strong. The characters are convincing and compelling, and even though the writing suffers a little from the overly self-conscious literary style that seems to bedevil so much Canadian fiction, I was drawn into the story. I wish I could say the same for the second part, which takes place in the 1990s. There's a very forced quality to the characterization and the situation. The disbelief I had willingly suspended for the melodrama of the first part came crashing down. My suggestion to readers would be to read Mercy for the first part alone and consider it to be a reasonably accomplished novella.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Confusing Dec 31 2013
By Melissa F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Leaves a lot of questions unanswered, without any clear focus of what you are to take from it. Started interestingly enough, but didn't develop well and second half was a huge question mark.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unusual Jan. 6 2012
By K. Sowa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mercy was an unusual book. The writing was haunting and the story was heartbreaking. The utter devotion of Father Day to his beliefs and the way his feelings for Mathilda destroy him, both physically and spiritually, provide the center of the story in the first half of the book. The author also gives us a window into the mind of Thomas, Mathilda's husband. He seems oafish at first, but develops into a character that is just as trapped and full of longing as Father Day and Mathilda. The lives of these three people are emotionally tortured and close in around them until the entire situation culminates in a very dramatic way.

The second half of the book left me feeling a little lost. Fifty years have gone by and now the town of Mercy has changed. We meet a corrupt preacher with an autistic daughter whose life is essentially one affair after another. His desire to to develop the bogs put him in contact with Bog Mary, who he must rely on for help when he is injured. His character is connected to the people in the beginning of the book, but I just didn't feel the same way about the second half as I did about the first. We really got to know Mathilda, Thomas and Father Day through the minutia of their days, but this didn't continue in the second half of the book. I felt like the characters were just as interesting, but not as well developed

The arrangement of short chapters and the ideas of religion, morality and devotion were weaved into the story in a unique way. The second half weakened it and I regret that the momentum didn't continue throughout the entire book.
Mercy Me March 22 2009
By bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This has GOT to be the strangest book I've ever read. It was hard to follow with all the sections pulled up from the past. I think it would have been a better story if some attention had been given to the night Mathilda gave birth. Was the priest ever found? What did Thomas do about the disappearance of his wife? Instead fast forward 44 years and try to sort out the new cast of characters. The ending was just chopped off, gave no conclusion to the story at all.
I don't think I'll read any more by this author, too many other good ones on my list.
Rambling literary story Jan. 11 2012
By Sarah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This was a very literary type story that unfortunately seemed to ramble about with no distinct plot. The book was divided into two sections, which seemed to be very different stories with few overlapping connections.

The ending left me confused, There was no real conclusion and a lot of questions were left unanswered.

I was surprised at the amount of sexual references and overtones in the book. It was a little jarring and unexpected. For such a discreet time period with puritanical characters, sex played a large role in the book.

Overall, the story was not what I was expecting, and I was felt feeling unsatisfied.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback