THE REFUGEE by Helen M. Fowler


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Margaret Richard's very special quality of love envelops not only her rather success minded husband, Lon, and their four children, but radiates to include her friends and the less fortunate, among them the two refugees she has sheltered in her household. Its reciprocation, the murder of the entire family except Lon- away at work, by the Bulgarian handyman Stefan who goes berserk, occurs at the opening of the book here. It takes place in a small Australian town where many resented these aliens- to Lon, Stefan was nothing but a ""bloody reffo"". It is the reconciliation of this wanton tragedy, both in human terms and within the rationale of Catholicism, which is the concern here if Lon is to be saved. Lon, a convert to Catholicism only because of his marriage, is an indifferent one at best, and now is bitter- blaming the Church for Margaret's generosity of spirit which precipitated her death. It is Father Tom, Margaret's twin brother, who first succeeds in understanding what happened, then is able to bring Lon to an acceptance of his loss and his own life ahead by making a positive, effective use of the tragedy.... The strong Catholic imprint (a Catholic book club selection) is by no means restrictive; Miss Fowler handles the sudden, seemingly senseless whim of fate with a broader conscience and compassion.

Publisher: Macmillan