The Beast of Bethulia Park
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Book Review: The Beast of Bethulia Park - CMQ
The charity dinner will be a lavish affair, with an evening of inspirational talks from esteemed international and national speakers, entertainment, as well as a three course meal. Green and those like him are not serving the interests of free speech and expression, but are imperilling it. Most of us are very wary of censorship but if we are going to avoid it authors and publishers have a duty to behave responsibly, especially when it involves children. An equally complex character is Father Baines. The young hospital chaplain struggles to master his desire for something more than friendship with Emerald, the nurse aiding his crusade for truth alongside Jenny. It is a humanising portrait of a genuinely devout individual trying, and largely succeeding, in living up to his religious principles surrounding sex and relationships, a tale that few English novels published this side of the sexual revolution have told well.
The book, due to published by Gracewing later this month, has been described as a “wonderful” psychological thriller underpinned by Catholic themes. It tells the story of a young and idealistic priest who is pitched into a dark world of sexual obsession, danger and death when he becomes embroiled in a campaign to unmask a murderous doctor. For those who would rather spare themselves, part of it is an aggressively crude and homosexually explicit parody of the Lord’s Prayer, which for two millennia has united Christians all over the world irrespective of whatever Church, communion or community they belong to. It is perhaps the most important prayer of all. Love books? Then get down to the Campbell Room of St John's Church, Standishgate, Wigan WN1 1XD, tonight where from 7pm I'll be speaking for 45 minutes about 'the 21st century Catholic novel'. Q&A and refreshments to follow. All are welcome.
The Beast of Bethulia Park by Simon Paul Caldwell | Goodreads
The characters of the novel fumble their way in the dark, trying to discern the way forward, questioning themselves. Things are off-kilter, but they aren’t quite sure why. Picture of the late and beloved Louise-Pierre, who makes a cameo appearance in Chapter 14 of The Beast, 'Find the Killers', as Professor Silver's cat. Set in present-day England, the novel is a wild romp through fistfights, love interests and pursuit of a pair of murderous doctors, and a careful study of human agents navigating the present-day moral landscape.At the centre are two men and two women. Fr. Calvin Baines is a young, earnest and naïve priest who becomes embroiled in a quest, together with nurse Emerald Essien and journalist Jenny Bradshaigh to unmask a prominent and powerful doctor, Dr. Reinhard Klein. Klein, at one with the spirit of the Nazi doctors, is both talented and intelligent, but believes he is working for the common good when he kills old people in his care at Bethulia Park Hospital. In a post-coital conversation with Dr. Octavia Tarleton, his partner in adultery and murder, Klein says what he is doing is merciful. Mercy, Klein says, “needs, like so much else, to be redefined into something you can actually believe in. It needs to be purified for our century.” The young journalist is repelled by the way that the nurses are flirting with the dashing young doctor, forgetful of the fact that they are in a courtroom, “the little coquettes, joking and laughing with him as he settled into their midst, batting their eyelashes and giggling playfully as he held court, those closest to him leaning into him with their breasts.” She is repelled but she is also feeling an uncomfortable attraction and is embarrassed when Klein glances up and catches her staring at him. This novel aptly summarises the grisly reality of euthanasia beyond public debates about “compassion” and “dignity”. On this earth and Caldwell’s fictional one, the beasts are roaming far beyond Bethulia Park.