Books by Denis McBride

Borrowing the Eyes of Others

Borrowing the Eyes of Others

In this tenth book by Denis McBride, a variety of works of art are used to open up a conversation between the human story - our story - and that of Christ. Using works by varied artists McBride brings the depicted characters and scenes dramatically to life, and speaks through them to us - the onlookers, the casual observers, the passers-by.

Hear An Introduction


Finest characters you will meet
As a psychiatrist, you don't expect your patients to bring you reading to improve your sympathy and understanding. I was given this book written by a priest - I don't read priests - and got caught up in the life of these wonderful weird characters. Whoever the author is he is much more than a priest, unusually sharp about personality insight and contradiction, not only between characters but within characters. Not only does he write beautifully, but sees people with reverence, however imperfect and flawed. In this he is my teacher. Yes, I have learned from this book and am learning to love it, but it does make my usual clients rather dull.
Dr M. Lincoln

A wonderful tour
I read this alongside Fr Denis McBride's Journeying with Jesus, and was really touched by the painting and the writing - which is sometimes very sharp and, more often, very gentle and full of understanding. My favourite was the old woman and the rosary, which caught beautifully the differences and conflict between members of the same family. Really great stuff!
Henry Shallotte

My own gallery!
As a young disabled person, stuck at home, my favourite way of passing the time is surfing art galleries. I love art and have all the time in the world to look around. When my mum gave me this book for my birthday, it was really something: my own private gallery! Love the pics and the thoughts (who is this guy?) He takes you into another world and helps you see so much you didn't notice before, not just about the painting but about yourself. Really wicked it is. And my favourite character is JoJo - my lost brother.
Damien (18)

To read is great, but to hear is superb!
I bought this book when I attended Fr McBride's sessions at the Edinburgh Fringe, held at the beautiful church of St Patrick's in the Cowgate. Following each of the presentations I read the script. The beauty of reading was that the voice was still in my head, which added so such texture to the written word. I don't know how Fr Denis can get inside the head of modern-day teenagers, for example. I have three teenage sons and recognised so much of them in his character JoJo. Superb portraits drawn from life!
To read is great, but to hear is superb!

The best of art; the best of writing
For me, this is a totally original way to approach a painting: to sit with it and allow your personality to disappear into the painting, so that when you speak, you speak out of the painting.
I found myself laughing out loud at some of the passages; other sharp psychological observations left me wondering; yet others left me deeply moved.
You don't come across writing like this every day. The writing is top-notch and whole quality of the book productuion is superb. Read, enjoy the wonder of seeing again!
Paul Campbell-Johnson

Not being schooled in the arts, I find Father Denis’ book, Borrowing the Eyes of Others, fascinating. He has chosen from a variety of artists and artistic styles; some oozing a variety of colors and others in tones of the same color. Father Denis’ selection of “voices” speaking his imaginative colloquy captivates me. A spinner of tales, Father Denis delves into the world of emotions that are intense, complex and passionate. I am particularly surprised by Father Denis’ ability to use a still life as a spring board for dialogue. His creativity astonishes me.

The reflection on the Pieta enlivens Mary in a way no other writing has. The “woman wrapped in silence” is given expression by this gifted author. Mary’s suffering will never again be some pious moment for me. Her anguish is embodied and her heartache universal. I wept contemplating this voice. Father Denis’ work touches my very being and brings me to pray. Perhaps he will do the same for you.
Lenore Greene, RSM

This book of reflections is as exquisite in Father McBride’s use of language as it in his choice of artist. His words paint a picture as colorful as the art work culled from many sources. In addition, Father McBride meets the reader in universal experiences of life; love, sorrow, engagement, invisibility, playfulness, estrangement, forgiveness and much more. Father McBride is a superb writer. Only those who venture to read this book will understand.
Thelma J. White

This book is truly amazing.
Borrowing the Eyes of Others is the most poignant book I have read in a long while. It echoes my experience and my assumption is that this book will do that for others, too. How well Denis McBride knows the depth of sorrow, the joy of forgiveness, the beauty of the poor and the love of a Granny! The human experience and the experience of the divine come together in a burst of flavors and colors that dazzle my senses. My eyes are awash with the beauty of the art and my ears with the delight of the words spoken aloud. My heart is touch by one who understands my variable emotions. This book is truly amazing.
Leonora Cecchini

A Book for All Seasons
Hugely insightful writing here about people – both painter and painted, and their intriguing stories on both sides of the canvas. Denis McBride has brought a delightful and masterly mix of conversation and artistic nuance from the works of art he has chosen. He has brought a delightful blend of sensitivity, compassion and empathy entwining the stories of his imaginary characters with their real-life artists in a poetry-prose writing style which pertinently and pithily highlights some of today’s moral, ethical, and religious issues. It is a book full of wisdom and good humour, of pain and poignancy, of beautiful love stories written with Denis McBride’s inimitable graciousness. It is sure to excite those who delve into these pages to discover how deeply their stories touch you, how much you can relate to their differing situations with the utmost respect. You almost feel their flesh, and reach out to soothe their sorrows and deep hurts. You can journey with them as they unfold their innermost intimacies to your confidence. For me, Facing the Truth, rang the most bells – it’s an ageless story for each generation to ponder upon and face up to. Each story, though, in its unique way, has brought and continues to bring, tears and laughter, as well as long interludes of quiet contemplation. These are stories the like of which I guess Jesus would have told today – parables – clever, intriguing, thought-provoking, and ….. full of love, dear reader!

Writing for the heart
It is a long while since tears have come while reading a book, and, I admit, that tears flowed reading the voices of these wonderful characters. The observations on life and love and loss come from a deep place of the author who, from my reading, loves life and has experienced deep loss. The mixture of delight in life and loss struck in me a deep chord. I love this book and would heartily recommend to everyone. You will enjoy it so much.
John Ramsford

Very helpful
Helped me to purchase the book which I enjoyed very much. Brilliant imaginative commentary on the paintings, yet connects with the reader's own life in many ways. Use it for my private meditation and is proving thought-provoking.
Richard Hangrove