by Mykola Dementiuk
edited by Sally Miller
HOLY COMMUNION is a rite-of-passage novel that follows a seven-year-old’s first communion preparations and celebration. Throughout the four-day period the boy deals with cruel nuns, sadistic babysitters, his mother’s unfortunate accident, a drunken father, plus a pedophile or two, but he finds a way to cope in the midst of so much tragedy — first by indifference, later by defiance and rebellion. He also discovers that his urban surroundings in New York City give him autonomy, comfort, and satisfaction. HOLY COMMUNION is full of the boy’s despair and self-questioning, along with author Mykola Dementiuk’s powerful insights into the human condition.
Though the primary focus of HOLY COMMUNION is sin, guilt, atonement, and redemption, there is also a subtext which explores the boy’s growing awareness of sexuality. We see his faltering attempts at reconciling these urgings and his longings for acceptance with his inherent suspicion of love and contact.
In the end, burdened with self-accusations and guilt over what he feels is unforgivable sin and deceit, the boy dares to partake of the communion ceremony and risk the punishment of death he has been led to believe is his due.
Holy Communion is a full-length novel, trade paper, 220 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″
See the Holy Communion website
Initially I couldn’t continue reading this unrelentingly grim book past page 70. I wanted to kill the kid just to put him out of my misery. It brought to the surface many issues I dealt with in my fifties, and I had to take a break.
It ended up as I hoped it would, for which I was grateful! In the context of the boy’s hellish life, he triumphs in the only way possible, by confronting the truth and moving forward from there. The quality of writing actually soars near the end, when the boy comes to grip with reality, and is quite superior – literature actually. It’s a tougher, bloodier version of “Catcher in the Rye.” ~ Robert Bahr, Editor and Publisher, Factor Press
I finished Holy Communion. For me, it was a quick read, smooth-flowing writing, and I was really curious to see how the story ended. Good ending! It showed that the boy knew how to take care of himself and was a survivor. ~ Wall Street legal aide
While reading Holy Communion I fluctuated between horror and fascination. And then curiosity. How many poor children in our society and elsewhere in the world have to deal with this level of difficulty and abuse? Makes my own pathetic whining about my “unhappy” childhood seem silly, and my own experiences pale by comparison. Guess I’ve been very fortunate. If every parent were forced to read this book, would it make a difference? How many have some sense of empathy and kindness? If Jesus were walking the earth today, he would probably be puking at what the “Christians” have done with his teachings. Jesus taught love and compassion. Catholicism teaches fear and repression, and all too often practices cruelty. ~ NJ businessman
Holy Communion speaks to the various forms of domination – sexual, religious, and age-related – from the perspective of a child with a naive understanding of others’ needs. Domination in this case, explicitly given by default of age, is contrasted with adults who knowingly relinquish control – either willingly for some gain, or unwillingly from a feeling of loss of control. Upon identification of the truth of the domination, the child was in the position to choose to be liberated and move into the realm of the adult. ~ NJ chemist
Mykola Dementiuk’s Holy Communion was funny, erotic, and disturbing all in equal measure; a good read. ~ FL businessman