THE CROOKED HEART OF MERCY, a novel
by Billie Livingston
The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a brave, funny and heartbreaking novel about faith and family, love and forgiveness, and how people survive unimaginable loss. It features an indelible trio of characters who could only come from the imagination of Billie Livingston. There’s Ben, whose world we enter on the first page: he’s a limo driver who, after he loses his son, finds himself locked up in a psych ward with a hole in his head he can’t explain. His wife, Maggie, the other narrator of the story, is locked up in her own grief, unable to reach out to her husband. Then there is Maggie’s brother, Francis, an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and only occasional interest in celibacy, whose latest fall from the wagon was caught on video and has gone viral as Drunk Priest Propositions Cop.
How they come together to heal each others many wounds is the magic of this novel, as is its intensity, its wit, its deep sense of the absurd, and the surprising grace at its core.
“Courageously renegade (and hilarious) ….The novel echoes with Flannery O’Connor, and Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory… The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a gem.” —Washington Independent Review
“Livingston avoids cliché and caricature, and is able to investigate the necessity of belief in all its forms without descending into the didactic… her light-handed investigation of religion and its place in our lives – especially in crisis – is wholly refreshing and open-hearted.” —The Globe and Mail
“In The Crooked Heart of Mercy, her stellar fourth novel… Livingston immediately sets up a pressing question: can these lost souls overcome their tragedy and, if so, how? Tender, quirky, and sporadically quite comic, her answer is fruitful as well as a delight to follow.” —Vancouver Sun