The O'BriensBook - 2012
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.