The O'Briens by Peter BehrensThe O'Briens by Peter Behrens

The O'Briens

byPeter Behrens

Hardcover | August 2, 2013

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The O'Briens follows the family from The Law of Dreams two generations later: Joe O'Brien is coming of age in a new century in remote Pontiac County, Quebec, with his brothers and sisters by his side. Their father has abandoned the family and died in the South African war; their frail mother has remarried the abusive and lecherous Mick Heaney. Joe and his siblings escape the poverty and violence of the Pontiac, but as Joe travels the continent, building an empire and a bright young family with his wife, Iseult, he is never quite able to leave his past behind. Told from the perspectives of Joe, Iseult, and their children and spanning the construction of the Canadian railroad as well as both world wars, this novel mirrors the scope and sweep of what Wilfrid Laurier calls "Canada's Century." Tragic, romantic, and as vivid as the novel that preceded it, The O'Briens is an epic of great heart, imagination, and narrative force.
Peter Behrens is the author of the Governor General's Literary Award-winning novel, The Law of Dreams, published around the world to wide acclaim, and a collection of short stories, Night Driving. His short stories and essays have appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, Saturday Night, and the National Post. He was born in Montre...
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Title:The O'BriensFormat:HardcoverDimensions:528 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 1.7 inPublished:August 2, 2013Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887842291

ISBN - 13:9780887842290

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! Wonderful family saga that picks up three generations after Law of Dreams left off.
Date published: 2013-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Canadian coming of age Excellent Canadian story of hardship, perseverance and love. Follows Law of Dreams but misses a generation. Maybe that will be a later book. Great story
Date published: 2013-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Evocative, compelling prose If, like mine, your family history includes some connection to Ireland, or Montreal, or the clergy, or sailing, or the blood and bone that were, as much as wood and steel, the materials from which a railroad was hacked out of a continent, you will find much to savor in The O'Briens. But more importantly, if, like me, you enjoy a finely crafted novel with complex characters whose lives are challenged by love and loss and war and isolation and the strains of power and duty on family relationships, then you will likely find the journey of the O'Brien clan an evocative and compelling read. What distinguishes Peter Behrens' approach to the family saga as a window onto larger and more universal themes is that he does not attempt to know on behalf of his characters what they are struggling to know or understand about themselves. They are never asked to serve the writer as a platform from which he can comment on the big what does it all mean questions. When the patriarch Joe O'Brien heads off on his numerous and pivotal to the plot forays to New York and alcohol oblivion, Behrens never presumes to get inside his head or even his hotel room. He remains on the outside with the rest of us and the members of Joe's family to clean up the mess, pick up the pieces and try to carry on. And that is what makes these people so human, so at times heartbreaking and at all time so real.
Date published: 2011-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The O'Briens - a literary masterpeice I just last evening finished reading Peter Behrens’ the O’Brien’s – so sad that the read is over - so will be re-reading the Law of Dreams and the O’Brien’s -- both books at my bedside. Fabulous writer – Joe comes alive as does Iseult and their family. .
Date published: 2011-07-30