My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor - review by Adam Ahmed-Mekky

Adam Ahmed-Mekky

Escape from Rome

My Father’s House

By

Harvill Secker 288pp £20
 

My Father’s House is a striking piece of historical fiction, dramatising the real-life heroics of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and his Rome Escape Line, responsible for saving over 6,500 lives during the Nazi occupation of Rome. The novel follows O’Flaherty and his close collaborators (known as The Choir) as they exploit the Vatican’s neutrality to covertly arrange the evacuation of escaped Allied soldiers and Jews from Rome.

The novel alternates between the Nazi occupation of 1943 and the year 1963, in which we see six members of The Choir giving interviews. Telling the story from multiple perspectives, O’Connor succeeds in integrating into the suspenseful plot numerous narrative voices that intersect class, gender, nationality and religion. In

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