The Law of Dreams by Peter BehrensThe Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens

The Law of Dreams

byPeter Behrens

Paperback | August 1, 2007

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Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction. Peter Behrens's bestselling novel is gorgeously written, Homeric in scope, and haunting in its depiction of a young man's perilous journey from innocence to experience.

The Law of Dreams follows Fergus O'Brien from Ireland to Liverpool and Wales during the Great Potato Famine of 1847, and then beyond -- to a harrowing Atlantic crossing to Montreal. On the way, Fergus loses his family, discovers a teeming world beyond the hill farm where he was born, and experiences three great loves.

Peter Behrens's first novel, The Law of Dreams, won the Governor General's Award for Fiction and has been published in nine languages. His collection of short stories, Travelling Light, was reissued in 2013. The New York Times called his second novel, The O'Briens (2011), "a major achievement." Carry Me, his third novel, appeared in 20...
Title:The Law of DreamsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 8.25 × 5.56 × 1.27 inPublished:August 1, 2007Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887847749

ISBN - 13:9780887847745

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Historical Story I read this book in high school and again last year, yes it is hard to read at times because of the slight gore but it is an amazing story. When i read it in high school i didnt even know about the potatoe famine so this really opened up my eyes. an amazing story of a young mans journey to finding a new life after tragedy. the things he had to do to survive and the rewards it gave him for persevering through it all
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Doesn't really reflect the content Very interesting historically. Very brutal and raw, but I'm sure a lot of this stuff did take place during the potato famine. Ultimately, the character had a few too many "good luck" episodes, which made the story a bit hard to believe. Basically, a good read,though.
Date published: 2015-10-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vivid picture of Irish emigration to America Mr. Behrens has written an exceptional novel. I can't fathom how he was able to write such fascinating dialogues. Loved it!
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Law of Dreams Sigh, not the rich heart moving Irish tale I was hoping for. Simple, typical. Characters were typical.
Date published: 2014-12-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Law of dreams Good flow to the story. you felt for Fergus being alone in the world trying to find a good Life for himself. Gives u hope that if u have determination and drive u can make it
Date published: 2014-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The law of dreams In a word, AWESOME! I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2014-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Law of Dreams A great read. Sad.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The law of the land It was not a bad read dragged a bit
Date published: 2014-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Law of Dreams Very well written and compelling story. It has helped me get a better understanding of the Irish immigration and the devestation of the potatoe famine in their history.
Date published: 2013-07-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Canadian Irish history This book is a harsh look at the Irish potato famine and it's consequences. It is an interesting and fast moving story.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Canadian author Really enjoyed this story of poor Irish boy who survives potato famine and makes his way to Canada. Makes you feel like you're there. Glad there are still great Canadian authors
Date published: 2012-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A terrific story. This was the best book I read last year, or for that matter, for several years. There are so many good books out there - and so many good Canadian books - that it's hard to pick a favorite, but this one stands out. It follows the progress of a young Irish boy who loses his home and family during the potato famine, survives by his wits in the bleak Irish countryside, and eventually makes his way to Liverpool and passage to the new world and the promise of prosperity. Along the way, he encounters an assortment of fascinating characters, both friendly and otherwise, and endures extraordinary hardships. What makes this book so refreshing is the strength of the plot line - it's just a rousing good story. Though the characters are well drawn and the settings beautifully and atmosperically described, there's no soul-searching or mysticism: it's the story itself that draws you in and tumbles you along, leaving you breathless but satisfied at the end.
Date published: 2008-01-21

Editorial Reviews

"...Behrens has fashioned a beautiful idiom for his book, studded with slippery archaisms and mournful, musical refrains...the language and the things it describes seem to be spun out of a single material. And we move through it as willingly, or compulsively, as the protagonist, the wind of love and hate at our backs." - Newsday"...The Law of Dreams rings with a strange, hard poetry, a mingling of Behrens's rich narrative voice and scraps of startling wisdom that seem to emanate directly from Fergus's mind...In the life of this determined young man, Behrens illuminates one of the 19th century's greatest tragedies and the massive migration it launched. A novel that animates the past this vibrantly should make volumes of mere history blush. 'Life burns hot,' Fergus thinks, and so do these pages." - Washington Post"...a compelling read, notable for its spare, lyrical use of language." - Montreal Gazette" absorbing, unsparing and beautifully written account of one man's escape from the charnel house that Ireland became." - New York Times"...enjoy the sprawling, cinematically rendered immigrant story." - Publishers Weekly"...there is much in The Law of excite admiration." - Literary Review of Canada"A lengthy yet surprisingly fast-moving story, The Law of Dreams is sure to establish this Canadian writer as a serious literary talent...Behrens' use of crisp dialogue clearly conveys the fear, the longing and the unbridled hope of a young man teetering on the brink between starvation and salvation. But it is in his economical narrative that Behrens truly shines. 'Life honed to the very edge. Sharpened on a whetstone. Chopping through the days. Working time like it was a sweep of hay.'" - Winnipeg Free Press"An action-driven tale stuffed with fascinating historical research." - National Post"An emotional epic bearing echoes of Melville and Ondaatje, conveying scents and shimmers of a vanished world under the skin of our own." - Jonathan Lethem"From a mountaintop in Ireland to the beckoning promise of America, there are scenes that will remain imprinted upon the reader's mind. Peter Behrens is a tremendously talented writer." - Alistair MacLeod"Inspired by his own family history, Behrens has fashioned a paean to the strength of the human spirit that illuminates a piece of history. The law of dreams is to keep moving, and that's what Fergus does, taking advantage of opportunities even as he is haunted by dreams and hurt by betrayal. Behrens tells this story in spare prose that distills ideas to their essence, making this absorbing historical fiction." - Booklist"One of the many fine things about Peter Behrens' stunningly lyric first novel, The Law of Dreams, is that it is emphatically a story of that great hunger, a work of richly empathetic imagination that reminds us once again of how powerful historical fiction can be in skilled hands. In fact, the story has a factual and emotional authenticity that calls to mind the similarly masterful debut Thomas Flanagan made with his now classic novel of Irish history, The Year of the French." - LA Times"The Law of Dreams is the best literary adventure novel I've read since Lonesome Dove, a brilliant heart-felt celebration of the capacity of the human spirit." - Howard Mosher"The Law of Dreams lowers a tape recorder into the pit of history. All that was lost, everything we've forgotten, is suddenly restored. The research is prodigious, the story is epic, the structure is bold, and the ancient language is something new and wondrous to our ears." - Clark Blaise"This book is a beautifully written, poetically inspired tale of heroism, love, yes and sex, and the triumph of the human spirit over murderous greed. It's a long road that Behrens makes shorter with many a surprising turn. The Law of Dreams is one great book. I stayed up into the wee hours to finish it. I envy you this journey." - Malachy McCourt