The Whipping Club takes us to mid-20th-century Ireland, where a good Catholic girl decides to give up her half-Jewish child for adoption. Secrecy, lifelong guilt, and remorse aren’t even half of what she and the child will suffer in Deborah Henry’s novel.”
O – Oprah Magazine July Summer Reading Issue 2012
“Henry weaves multilayered themes of prejudice, corruption and redemption with an authentic voice and swift, seamless dialogue. Her prose is engaging, and light poetic touches add immediacy. Echoing the painful lessons of the Jewish Holocaust, Henry’s tale reveals what happens when good people remain silent.
A powerful saga of love and survival.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“The prose of The Whipping Club is gripping, and almost poetic in its emotional depth, while the research is concise and accurate, and the story haunting…The Whipping Club holds the promise of a long and meaningful career for Deborah Henry as a serious writer. Bravo!”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Set in 1960’s Ireland, Henry’s riveting debut novel explores the far-reaching effects of a single decision.”
Publishers Weekly
“Deborah Henry’s eloquent, magnificently designed novel . . . A story that will draw out every straw of emotion in your soul. This is the best novel I have read in three years.”
Herald de Paris
“Deborah Henry’s The Whipping Club echoes in my thoughts the way only a truly great novel can resonate. Eloquent yet never mannered, it captures the four corners of the Irish psyche: mirth, love, fortitude and tragedy. Now stop reading the review and buy the bloody book.”
San Francisco Book Review
“Henry dives headlong into deep, often dark issues with the consummate skill and finesse of a seasoned writer.”
MPH Quill Magazine – Malaysia and Western Australia
“Henry’s debut novel is immensely assured, grabbing the reader from the first page. It’s the kind of debut that publishers dream of, confident, clear and appealing to a wide audience.”
—Cahir O’Doherty, longtime arts editor for The Irish Voice, Irish America and IrishCentral.com
“Author Deborah Henry has said about the writing of her debut novel: “I wrote The Whipping Club because what I found hidden, I needed to uncover.” An understatement, no doubt, as first novels of this scope aren’t written by merely turning over a rock. That had to be at very least a sizeable boulder, and the courage to write it equally so.”
The Smoking Poet
“A revealing and probing story. The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry is a fantastic book. A serious inquiry and thoroughly enlightening.”
—Josip Novakovich, International Man Booker Prize Finalist
“Deborah Henry is a natural storyteller and she is far more. Her novel The Whipping Club is a compelling read, but it also seriously explores the terrible ways the world –as a society, as individuals — often fails its children. And most importantly, her book offers a searingly lovely vision of how wrongs can be made right. Deborah Henry is a splendid young novelist who deserves a wide audience.”
—Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler
The Whipping Club is an intimate, assured first novel, the story of Marian McKeever and her child hidden by cruelty and custom. It rings with the authenticity of shame and courage. You can put it down but you will not forget it.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, best-selling author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“Deb Henry’s debut novel, The Whipping Club, is a wonderful portrait of a world seldom depicted in fiction, that of a small Jewish enclave in early 20th century Ireland. Echoing Joyce’ Ulysses, the novel nonetheless creates its own compelling vision, peopled by vivid characters and compelling voices. With near pitch-perfect dialogue, the story’s long-buried secrets compel the reader forward in a way that is both intriguing and heart-wrenching. The novel is at once a love story and a tale of redemption, following a brave woman’s struggle not only to fit in a world dominated by bigotry and ignorance, but to succeed and find her own home in the world. The Whipping Club introduces us to a new and exciting voice in fiction.”
—Michael White, best-selling author of Soul Catcher and Beautiful Assassin
The Whipping Club at once evokes a hauntingly beautiful literary landscape, engaging me immediately. Henry writes with great passion, deep vulnerability and sharpest prose about perils and plights, joy and triumph. Commanding a winsome literary voice, Henry would go far to tell many a tale. And she should.”
—Da Chen, best-selling author of Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River
The Whipping Club, which is set in 1960s Ireland, is a family drama that unflinchingly confronts prejudice and violence in Catholic orphanages, in the ghettoized Jewish community, and in Northern Irish Troubles. The world’s madness plays out in Marian and Ben’s family. Through their secrets and lies come redemption and hope. Deborah Henry is a novelist who is fearless in her gaze and compassionate in her heart. This book is on fire.
—Martine Bellen, author of The Vulnerability of Order
“Deborah Henry’s The Whipping Club gripped me from the beginning. Henry beautifully evokes the terrifying journey in and out of church-run systems in a heart wrenching and lyrical manner. She creates a frighteningly authentic world of authority gone mad and the long term effects of abuse. Her provocative novel is very timely in today’s Ireland which still suffers from the ghosts of those whose lives were destroyed. Yet what makes Deborah’s book so unique is that she transcends the horror and gives us the hope of the human spirit through her words and her characters. Henry has a great future ahead of her. A beautiful writer and a stunning debut.”
—Alan Cooke, Irish filmmaker and writer, winner of a 2009 Emmy for Home
“Exquisitely written, unflinching and spare, The Whipping Club is the haunting portrait of a family that challenges a system whose chilling atrocities toward children are at once beyond comprehension and altogether real. Deborah Henry is a gifted storyteller. The steely realism of her prose, her fiercely drawn characters and startling plot twists make The Whipping Club one of those rare novels that linger in the mind long after the last page is turned.
—Dawn Tripp, best-selling author of Game of Secrets
“Harrowing, haunting, and brilliantly written, Henry’s stunner of a novel is about secrets, so-called sins, and the way even the deepest scars can begin to heal. So breathtakingly good it seems burned into your heart.”.”
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“A story of survival, redemption, and the courage that is born of love. One of my favorite reads of the decade!”
—Susan Henderson, author of Up From The Blue