Very old bones

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Penguin Books, Apr 1, 1993 - Fiction - 292 pages
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The Phelan clan has gathered for a most unusual event: the reading of Peter Phelan's will - by Peter himself. But the Phelans have always been a bit eccentric, larger-than-life in both their sins and their salvations.

In this extraordinary novel, William Kennedy chronicles the complex, moving, and sometimes hilarious saga of a hard-pressed, hard-drinking Irish-American family. From Malachi, the nineteenth-century patriarch whose religious fervor drove him to the ultimate sin; to Francis, Peter's self-exiled brother (and hero of "Ironweed" ); to Orson - half insider, half outsider, teetering on the brink of madness - the Phelans come vibrantly to life.

Weaving together the seperate but interlocking threads that make up the Phelan tapestry, Kennedy captures in lyrical langauge the boundaries of love and redemption, of art, and of life itself.

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Very old bones

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"The past is the present,'' says O'Neill's Mary Tyrone in Long Days Journey Into Night , a theory that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kennedy adheres to. In relating "this cautionary tale of diseased self ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

William Kennedy was born and raised in Albany, New York. He began his writing career as a journalist, and his novels have been translated into two dozen languages. His novel "Ironweed" won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

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