‘The Chain That Binds the Earth’ – Novel now on sale

This project preoccupied me for months:  the experiment of a novel that would test the power of Girardian mimetic theory to explain to young people a wide range of modern ills – from the global threat to the environment to violence of all kinds – including school bullying.

The project arose out of a realisation that were I still in the classroom I would be proposing that we do often unconsciously absorb the desires of others  – as a tool to explain such events as the assassination of Julius Caesar, the burning of Joan of Arc, the World Wars of the 20th century, the Cold War – and the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

Would it have been feasible to do so?  Do young people already notice ‘unconscious copying’ as a dominant feature of human behaviour, and even as a potential source of conflict?

The second crucial factor heading me in the direction of fiction was the simple fact that my classroom days are over.  Now in my seventies I am retired from formal teaching – but very much committed still to what lies behind all teaching:  the task of maintaining a living tradition of insight into so much of what ails us, and especially of passing that insight on to young people concerned for the future of the planet.

So could I write a story that would have eleven-year-olds stumble upon the significance of our human weakness for adopting the desires of others, and then have them argue their case in their own school context?

I have tried to do that, in any case.  It is for young people themselves to tell me if I have succeeded.  My very first young readers of a late draft have been enthusiastic, but I have no way of knowing how representative they are.

As I was obliged to self-publish this story, the initial retail cost of the paperback version on Amazon is too high.    I am setting out to make copies available soon at what they cost me, ordered in quantities at a discount.  I will update this page to log progress in this attempt.

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About Sean O'Conaill

Retired teacher of high school history and author. Now editing here and on acireland.ie - and campaigning for immediate implementation of Article 37 of Vatican II's 'Lumen Gentium'. A fuller profile can be found at 'About / Author' from the navigation menu above.

4 thoughts on “‘The Chain That Binds the Earth’ – Novel now on sale

  1. Hi Noreen,

    The following comment (from an able third-year in my own old school) fronts the book:

    “The Chain that Binds the Earth is a compelling novel that you feel a part of as soon as you start reading. It shows the power of friendship and love, and there is never a dull moment. You always want to keep reading on, and you are never disappointed when you do. The book is filled with strong, likeable characters whom I quickly grew to love. Unputdownable and utterly brilliant.”

    (David Brussard, 14)

    I would think 15 could be the ideal age. This morning one of my former colleagues, also now retired, told me she couldn’t put it down either – so you might even like it yourself.

    Thanks for the query!


    1. Very good and positive book.
      Do hope that it will be read by young people and like myself,not so young! Well written and beautifully presented,with a strong
      Well done Sean…….Bernadette……

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