The O'Briens (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Mar 6, 2012 - Fiction - 416 pages
29 Reviews

An unforgettable saga of love, loss, and exhilarating change spanning half a century in the lives of a restless family, from the author of the acclaimed novel The Law of Dreams.
 
The O’Briens is a family story unlike any told before, a tale that pours straight from the heart of a splendid, tragic, ambitious clan. In Joe O’Brien—grandson of a potato-famine emigrant, and a backwoods boy, railroad magnate, patriarch, brooding soul—Peter Behrens gives us a fiercely compelling man who exchanges isolation and poverty in the Canadian wilds for a share in the dazzling riches and consuming sorrows of the twentieth century.
 
When Joe meets Iseult Wilkins in Venice, California, the story of their courtship—told in Behrens’s gorgeous, honed style—becomes the first movement in a symphony of the generations. Husband and wife, brothers, sisters-in-law, children and grandchildren, the O’Briens engage unselfconsciously with their century, and we experience their times not as historical tableaux but as lives passionately lived. At the heart of this clan—at the heart of the novel—is mystery and madness grounded in the history of Irish sorrow. The O’Briens is the story of a man, a marriage, and a family, told with epic precision and wondrous imagination.

  

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The writing is descriptive, rich and imaginative. - Goodreads
I thought the ending a little abrupt. - Goodreads
Good depiction of the various time periods, esp. - Goodreads
I sat up late to finish it to a satisfying ending. - Goodreads

Review: The O'Briens

User Review  - Michelle Rivera - Goodreads

This was almost as good as The Law of Dreams, though I think I liked the first one better. This book begins a few generations after the character in the Law of Dreams lands on American soil. There are ... Read full review

Review: The O'Briens

User Review  - Shonna Froebel - Goodreads

This is the saga of Joe O'Brien and his family. It starts in the Pontiac region along the Ottawa River, but ranges across North America to the Canadian Rockies, to Venice Beach, California and back ... Read full review

All 3 reviews »

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Pontiac County and New York City 18871904Ashling
VENICE BEACH CALIFORNIA 1912The Orphan
SELKIRK MOUNTAINS BRITISH COLUMBIA19121914The Contract
MONTREAL 19171923Armistice
PROVINCE OF QUEBEC 1929On the Run
MONTREAL 1931Disorder
WESTMOUNT 1931Wild January Thaw
ENGLAND AND NORTH AFRICA 194042Hostage to Fortune
MAINE 1943Reprieve
SICILY AUGUST 1943Displaced Person Part I
WESTMOUNT AUGUST 1943Prodigal
WESTMOUNT AUGUST 1943Displaced PersonPart II
WESTMOUNT AUGUST 1943Ritual Part I
WESTMOUNT AUGUST 1943Ritual Part II
MONTREAL APRIL 1946Home

SANTA BARBARA 1931Sea and Seawall
BRITISH COLUMBIA 1931Returning
MONTREAL SEPTEMBER 1939Gathering Soldiers
MONTREAL OCTOBER 1939Violence
CAPE BRETON JULY 1960Lost and Found
AUTHORS NOTE
A NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Peter Behrens is the author of The Law of Dreams (which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was published around the world to wide acclaim) and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic and Tin House. Honors he has received include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program.

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