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9780099469629

ISBN: 9780099469629

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The Star of the Sea

Farewell to Old Ireland

by Joseph O'Connor

Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Vintage
Publication date: 1 January 2004
Number of pages: 432

Description:
In the bitter winter of 1847, from an Ireland torn by injustice and natural disaster, the Star of the Sea sets sail for New York. On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees. Among them are a maidservant with a devastating secret, bankrupt Lord Merridith and his family, an aspiring novelist, a maker of revolutionary ballads, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home. Each is connected more deeply than they can possibly know. But a camouflaged killer is stalking the decks, hungry for the vengeance that will bring absolution. The twenty-six day journey will see many lives end, others begin afresh. In a spellbinding story of tragedy and mercy, love and healing, the further the ship sails towards the Promised Land, the more her passengers seem moored to a past which will never let them go.

Review:
In this moving and unsettling novel award-winning author Joseph O'Connor takes us back to the late spring of 1847 and the scourge of the Irish famine. The Star of the Sea sets sail for New York leaving an Ireland divided by injustice and destabilized by the failure of the potato crop. Hundreds of starving refugees travel as steerage passengers, crammed into foetid conditions in the hold. Despite the outbreak of disease and the high death rate some of the emigrants are looking forward to their new lives in America, but many more are just desperate to escape from their native land. Maidservant Mary Duane has a bitter secret, while Pius Mulvey, ex-convict, finds his past still follows him. Journalist Grantley Dixon has an affair with Lady Kingscourt, whose husband is the target of a group of militant Irishmen determined he should pay for the suffering he's caused. For the 26 days of the crossing they all brave the Atlantic together, trapped within the confines of the ship where a killer stalks the decks. In this many-stranded story, O'Connor traces the roots of the Irish famine and unravels the conflict between landlord and tenant in a narrative that compassionately explores both sides of the divide and condemns the Whig policy of laissez faire that resulted in catastrophe. He lays bare the historical background with forensic precision, drawing out the parallels with today's world, and as America draws near the tale races to a dramatic and unforgettable denouement. (Kirkus UK)

What the papers say:
"A page-turner of a masterpiece. Don't miss it" Daily Mail "Stunningly accomplished" Guardian "A triumph...A spectacular breakthrough...it raises the bar for contemporary Irish fiction" Sunday Times "A terrific story... A stealthily gripping narrative" Daily Telegraph "This is Joseph O'Connor's best book. It is shocking, hilarious, beautifully written, and very, very clever" -- Roddy Doyle

Author's Biography:
Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. His novels include Cowboys and Indians (Whitbread Prize shortlist), Star of the Sea (Irish Post Award for Fiction, France's Prix Millepages, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year), Redemption Falls, and Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book Novel, 2011). In 2012 he won the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been published in thirty-five languages. www.josephoconnorauthor.com

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