By Brendan McCarthy

Format: Paperback

(16 customer reviews)

Publication Date: 28 Oct 2021


Want to buy as an ebook? Click here

Categories: Contemporary, Religion and Beliefs

ISBN: 9781913913496


Longhorne lived alone and he understood that he would die alone. Only behind the walls of his isolation, could he attain the order and calm that he required; only there could he find the peace that made his existence bearable. Insulated also from his feelings and memories, he hoped for nothing, demanded nothing, expected nothing. Until his thirty-first birthday…

A trivial incident initiates a cascade of experiences until control of his carefully regulated mind is wrested from him, changing the course of his life and the lives of others. In the space of a few days, every protective barrier that he had painstakingly fashioned is breached until he is forced to confront the truth about his past: the truth about himself.

Step by step, he realises that the mysterious and powerful forces that have taken control of him are not external; in ways that he cannot fully fathom, they are part of him, and he is part of them. In connecting with himself, has he stumbled upon something fundamental that lies at the heart of all human existence? 

Brendan McCarthy has been the National Adviser on Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy for the Church of England since 2009. He has been a member of the Government’s Places of Worship Taskforce as well as adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops. He’s contributed to several national ethics discussions on radio, TV and in the press, including BBC Radio Four’s ‘The Moral Maze’ and ‘Sunday’ programmes. He’s authored books, articles and has lectured on medical ethics across the UK. In 2021, he was awarded the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England during the Covid-19 pandemic. He lives in Omagh, County Tyrone.


Annie Burns (Guest Review) - 08 Nov, 2021

Powerful, mysterious and gripping from the first. Definitely a treasure.

Niall Moore (Guest Review) - 16 Nov, 2021

Reading about Longhorn is a voyage of discovery. Every corner turned reveals more of the unexpected. More layers than an onion. Fantastic read.

John Mathers (Guest Review) - 30 Nov, 2021

I think everyone can see a little bit of themselves in Longhorne. Or perhaps a lot. One for the mind and soul. A must-read.

Geoffrey Sippings (Guest Review) - 30 Nov, 2021

Excellent read. Intelligently written and gripped from the start. .

Rebecca Rice (Guest Review) - 30 Nov, 2021

Something for everyone. Intriguing, thoughtful and brilliant. This book came from a great mind. A wonderful journey.

Cara Moore (Guest Review) - 06 Nov, 2021

Fascinating, unexpected, heartwarming, devastating and everything in between. A little gem. Already rereading.

Sunil Daniels (Guest Review) - 05 Dec, 2021

*repost with correct rating*
An excellent read! Would highly recommend.

Matthew Kelly (Guest Review) - 05 Dec, 2021

Such an enjoyable read - a thought provoking mediation on human nature. You will not regret giving it a read!

Claire Miller (Guest Review) - 19 Dec, 2021

A beautifully written exploration of meaning and purpose through the journey of Longhorn as he is unexpectedly brought out of his own mundane routine. Vivid, thought provoking… and worth a second read!

Joyce Gillmor (Guest Review) - 25 Nov, 2021

This beautifully written book is a compelling read. Fought all the way through it to try and rescue Longhorne. Love and loss, justice and injustice and all the other emotions are there. I highly recommend this book.

Angela Brown (Guest Review) - 13 Dec, 2021

In ‘Hypostatis’ Brendan McCarthy uses the storyteller’s gift to hold in front of us a seemingly pedestrian protagonist, Longhorne – then uses the same storyteller’s magic to delve downwards and outwards towards the Profound and Universal. Paradoxically, the ‘Everyman’ or ‘Lone Traveller’ motifs give way to scenarios grounded in recognisable dilemmas of our times, maybe based in the writer’s own sharp but fictionalised observations of societies and dilemmas.
Bildungsroman it isn’t. This novel feels like a Magritte painting where one must quarry new realities and revelations, and view existences where no magnolia paint will have a place… To follow Longhorne through the first few chapters requires both an act of faith and a stamina maybe honed by reading James Joyce, Proust or Virginia Woolf. By the climax of the novel, a great many other kinds of faith and science are involved.
Dr McCarthy’s precision in delineating consciousness holds the attentive reader: this is Mindfulness colliding with the Trivium of Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic. If Matt Haig’s ‘The Humans’ can be handed to new undergrads at one British Redbrick university, ‘Hypostasis’ deserves, in extract at least, to be handed out for discussion for anyone in training for the Caring Professions, Emergency Services or, where they exist, Philosophy and Theology courses. Readers of Philip Pullman would also do well to read ‘Hypostasis’ in parallel, not for fantasy but the reality which underpins the book. Is McCarthy’s take on ‘dust’ a challenge to Pullman?
‘Hypostasis’ actuates many of its meanings with forensic accuracy: its narrative convinces and jolts; one needs its truths for comfort. Like TS Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ I feel that it has another journey to go: out of Novel Genre and into perhaps a meld of Poetry, Music and Dance for a performance which captures its valuable essences with a different kind of soul-power. Its potential for further creativity is immense.

John Burns (Guest Review) - 21 Dec, 2021

The author’s use of the English language is masterful as he draws the reader chapter by chapter into the world of a reclusive individual who sadly was vilified for what he was rather than for what he did. A lesson to us all, not to judge too quickly. I suspect that the academic who penned this brilliant novel, is presenting us with a tale to be interpreted and digested on more than one level. I was gripped from the very first page.

David Burke (Guest Review) - 27 Dec, 2021

Without a word of dialogue, the book expertly transported me into the mindset of Longhorne, moving from numbing hypostasis into something other. The plot becomes increasingly intriguing and the themes address head on the modern illness of stress, numbness and hypostasis with the antidote of connection and joy in the small things of life. By the bittersweet end, I found myself inspired to live a more full life.

Rosalind Gillespie (Guest Review) - 04 Jan, 2022

Hypostasis is a book which stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It is a story of a misunderstood, misinterpreted man, caught in a web of lostness, loneliness and lovelessness, keeping himself to himself in a world of particular routine which gives him the only meaning he knows. An unspectacular event causes his life to change and to allow colour to sweep into its flat, grey landscape. Brendan McCarthy leaves room for the reader to come to his own conclusions about the why and how of the transformative nature of the man’s metamorphosis. It is a book which makes the reader question his own judgmental and critical spirit. A very good read.

Kate Stuart (Guest Review) - 13 Jan, 2022

With hints of Virginia Woolf’s studies of internal vs. external, and a vivid description of the central character’s daily routine without the insight of introspection early on in this novel, as Longhorne’s consciousness is gradually awakened, the work opens up to the reader and we are invited in to a fascinating study of self discovery and what it means to explore the notion of being human. Human interconnection is explored from all angles - history, DNA, spirituality/faith and, above all, a unifying sense of ‘being’. The novel asks where we fit in a bigger picture, how we are formed as individuals, how we judge those around us and, ultimately, what unifies us as a species. An intriguing, thought-provoking and philosophical read. Highly recommended.

Lorraine Simpson (Guest Review) - 18 Jan, 2022

A very moving and emotional read for me.
Made me think about the meaning of life and emptiness versus living to a elevated level of awareness.
Very indepth character building.
Provided insight into personality and how identity is so strongly linked to behaviour and human connection or lack if it.
There was so much meaning in it that I feel like I need to go back and read it again.
It shifted my focus from myself to think about the potential for our lives to impact on others in a profound way.

Related Books