Wild Decembers

Edna Obrien

Published by MCARTHUR & COMPANY @
ISBN 10: 1552781372 / ISBN 13: 9781552781371
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Synopsis: As they have since birth, Joseph Brennan and his sister, Breege, are living on the Irish farm of their ancestors when Mick Bugler arrives from Australia to claim his late uncle's farm next door. The inevitable happens. Joseph initially befriends him, Breege falls in love with him, there is a battle over land, there's a murder and some madness. This is not, however, a book of cliches written by a professional Irishman. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister's love for both him and his rival, Bugler. A classic drama ensues, involving the full range of human bonds and betrayals, leavened by the human comedy.

"A mood akin to that of WUTHERING HEIGHTS - and indeed the spirit of Emily Bronte seems to hover over this novel..." (Irish Times)

Review: Wild Decembers begins lushly with a prologue that's as much a prose poem as a map, full of cautionary demarcations. "Cloontha it is called--a locality within the bending of an arm," Edna O'Brien writes of her setting in western Ireland. With its "relics of battles of the long ago" and memories of the potato famine still in the soil, it's clear that "the enemy can come at any hour." This time, the enemy appears in the form of Mick Bugler--described variously as a "dark horse," a "caveman," and "the Shepherd"--who has returned from Australia to claim his late uncle's farm. To Joseph Brennan, as native to tiny Cloontha as its relics, the stranger who has taken possession of the farm next to his is briefly a novelty, less briefly a friend, and finally excites in him a fear and a love of boundaries that proves murderous.

O'Brien's Irish hero recites biblical, Greek, and Irish history, mingling them until the world's story, as he sees it, is a tribute to immovable men such as Moses, who he swears settled Cloontha for the likes of him. Unmarried and devoted to the sister with whom he lives, Joseph is so blind with love for the life and land he and his forebears have earned--and with the will to preserve them against the barest change--that his own inability to give way is his undoing. Inevitably, his sister Breege and Bugler fall in love, but, in a landscape where everything is a contest of ownership and men measure their stature against a woman's fidelity, this love thrives exuberantly, though not lastingly, like "flowers that are hatched in the snows." In her 11th novel, O'Brien gives as good as Shakespeare: there's a little of Iago in the town fool, a deliciously nasty cripple named Crock, and a little of Ophelia in pretty Breege. The author means to break your heart, and her startling and redemptive prose leaves you as nostalgic as Joseph Brennan for what might have been, as eager for the next chapter as you are disquieted by its implications. --Amy Grace Loyd

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Title: Wild Decembers
Publisher: MCARTHUR & COMPANY @
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: VERY GOOD

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Book Description MCARTHUR & COMPANY @, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: DJ. First Edition. 1552781372 Publisher: McArthur & Co., Toronto, 2000. First Edition, First Printing. FINE hardcover book in FINE dust-jacket. PRISTINE. As New. Unread. NOT marked. NOT price-clipped. NOT remainder marked. NOT faded. NOT a book club edition. NOT an ex-library copy. All of our books with dust-jackets are shipped in fresh, archival-safe mylar protective sleeves. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1009178

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