Amelia and the Virgin
- Nicky Harlow (a published student)
- November 2011
- Pewter Rose Press
About the publication
Liverpool,1981. Amelia and her eccentric Catholic family are eagerly awaiting the Pope s visit to the city. Increasingly disturbed by visions of a mysterious Goddess, Amelia becomes pregnant and is convinced her baby is the new Messiah. Marguerite, Amelia s mother, ignorant of her daughter s condition, takes an extended trip to Ireland to visit the order of nuns she has inherited. Amelia s visions intensify and apparent miracles are performed. A cult develops. The family is divided. As believers swell in number and the papal visit nears, it becomes evident that Amelia and her unborn baby are in danger. Fast-paced and grimly baroque, this is a wickedly funny tale of religious hysteria, human duplicity and corrupted innocence.
Nicky Harlow's deftly-plotted novel is peopled by a cast of eccentric characters, amongst whom the innocent Amelia cuts a strangely normal figure. Except that is, for her visions, which are as vivid to Amelia as the everyday details of the Catholic Liverpudlian life around her. The story's dominant mood is comic, but darker shadows are visible beneath the lightness of the writing.Lynda Prescott