Edna O'Brien Down by the River

ISBN 13: 9780374143275

Down by the River

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9780374143275: Down by the River
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Set in the author's native Ireland, a powerful and passionate novel relates the story of a young girl who becomes pregnant by her father, a situation made worse when it becomes fodder for the mill of church, state, and the town square. Tour.

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Review:

A few years ago, Ireland was forced to confront its conscience when a 14-year-old girl, the purported victim of rape, sought an abortion in England. The ensuing legal and moral battles exposed the Emerald Isle's centuries-long struggles over religion, sexuality, and the position of women. Irish writer Edna O'Brien revisits this embattled territory in her novel Down by the River, a bleak, uncompromising chronicle of poverty, unwanted pregnancy, and despair. O'Brien's protagonist is Mary, almost 14 years old and pregnant by her widowed father. In a repressed, judgmental rural world, Mary can tell no one of her plight. Eventually she tries to drown herself, only to be rescued by a neighbor, Betty. When Betty learns the reason for Mary's suicide attempt, she arranges to take her to England for an abortion. Before the operation can occur, Mary is coerced into returning to Ireland and there she becomes the focal point in a ferocious nationwide debate about abortion.

O'Brien is unsparing in her depictions of the economic and emotional poverty in which her characters live, yet she can be surprisingly empathetic toward even the least likeable among them, showing, for example, the tender side of Mary's father even as she exposes his brutality. The book's language is rich and laden with imagery, at times in shocking contrast to the parched lives she describes. Down by the River is just the latest in a long line of fiercely honest books by a fearlessly honest author.

About the Author:

Edna O'Brien is the author of 19 books. She was the winner of the 1993 Writers Guild Prize for Fiction. Her biography of James Joyce was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in June 1999. Her recent fiction has been about Irish topics - religion, politics, property. In 2001 her documentary novel, In the Forest - about a brutal murder on the west coast - caused a furore in her native Ireland. It was the subject of a BBC Omnibus film.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780452278776: Down by the River

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ISBN 10:  0452278775 ISBN 13:  9780452278776
Publisher: Plume, 1998
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9781857998733: Down By The River

Weiden..., 1997
Softcover

9780297818069: Down by the River

Weiden..., 1996
Hardcover

9780297818908: Down By the River

Weiden..., 1996
Softcover

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O'Brien, Edna
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Book Description Farrar Straus & Giroux (T), 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. 000-355: Hardcover with Dustjacket. 265 pages. No Defects. A New, Unread Book. A beautiful, square, tight copy with clean, unmarked pages. Outstanding Gift Quality. Mary, a young teenager, seems an ordinary girl but hides an abominable secret. For years, she has been brutalized and sexually abused by a monstrous father, a crime her victimized mother ignores. First American Edition, First Printing 1997. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Seller Inventory # 23302

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