After The Rising: A Novel (An Irish Trilogy Book 1)

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9781909888098: After The Rising: A Novel (An Irish Trilogy Book 1)
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Can we ever remake the past that made us? When Jo Devereux returns to Ireland after an absence of 20 years, the last person she expects to meet at her mother's funeral is Rory O'Donovan. The bitter conflict between her family and his, full of secrets and silences, poisoned their childhood.

Now she's back in village where they both grew up, he's urging her to stay and, to her own surprise, she's tempted. Because of him? Because her life in San Francisco is such a disaster since her friend Richard died? Or because she always swore she'd write a book about it all. So Jo settles into a shed near the beach and embarks on a quest, uncovering astonishing truths about her mother and grandmother and women's role in the conflict known as "The War of The Brothers", the Irish Civil War of 1922. And also about a killing with consequences that have ricocheted through four generations. Now Rory, mired in an unhappy marriage, is urging her to rebel again but reading her family history has made Jo cautious. "Rebellion has an energy that sweeps people up," she tells him, "but what happens after the rising?" Will her exhumation of the past provide the answers she so desperately needs? AFTER THE RISING was Orna Ross's debut novel. An instant bestseller and universally acclaimed, it has now been reissued by the author.

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From the Author:

Isabel Allende once said, "Write what should not be forgotten". That's my guiding principle as a writer. 

My father's uncle was shot during the Irish civil war of 1922/3, though nobody was able to say by whom, or why. And I grew up, fifty years later, in the village where this had happened, surrounded by silence about this event. So when I came to write fiction, it was natural to turn to that time, and its consequences. It seemed to sum up so much of what I wanted to say about what gets spoken and what remains secret and unsaid.

And also about the struggle every human being experiences between freedom and belonging. Because while the novel is set against the background of the scrappy, squalid conflict that was The Irish Civil War, it is not so much about that as about all sorts of private, intimate and personal wars -- around sexuality, and family, and love. 
 
 
I very much wanted to include the female experience during that war -- called 'The War of The Brothers' though women were more involved in it than the earlier independence struggle -- and draw parallels between the outer, male-driven conflict and other more intimate struggles within family and other close relationships.  
 
So the book turned into a three-generational family fiction, using a contemporary (1990s) narrator tracing her family history back, and giving us extracts from letters and diaries and scenes she has written herself as she imagines her grandmother and great-aunts and -uncles as young women and men.
 
I set the shootout that killed Barney to happen in a similar place in Co. Wexford, on the same day as my uncle was shot, and in similar fashion -- a small memorial. A number of things that happened in the novel were taken from real life, like the inquest and investigation into the killing by the Free State court. But a great deal more was invented.
 
Readers always want to know which bits "really" happened but it isn't that simple. It all gets very mixed up. All I can say is that I ended up with a story that was very different to what really happened. Imagination came in and filled the blanks, answered the questions I couldn't find "real" answers for, and made a pattern that was reflective of, but very different to, what actually happened. 
 
This was my first novel, originally published (together with its sequel BEFORE THE FALL) by Penguin Ireland in 2006, as Lovers' Hollow.

From the Back Cover:

AFTER THE RISING is the first book in Orna Ross's Civil War trilogy. The second is BEFORE THE FALL.

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