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The early reviews are unanimous as they hail award-winning author Peter Behrens’ “epic” and “unforgettable” new novel The O’Briens (on sale Tuesday, March 6).
In protagonist Joe O’Brien, Behrens gives us a fiercely compelling grandson of a potato-famine emigrant who exchanges isolation and poverty in the Canadian wilds for a share in the dazzling riches and consuming sorrows of the twentieth century. Following his flight from Canada, Joe takes the reader from the freedom shores of Coney Island, NY to the luscious waves of Venice Beach, CA. His journey is mighty and painful, and truly American.
Look out for Behrens’ profile in the New York Times Home section on Thursday, 3/1, and tune in to his interview about the book on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday on Saturday, 3/17. Check out Behrens’ book tour schedule for an appearance near you.
Advance praise for The O’Briens:
“Unforgettable.” —Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com
“Moments of grace and romance are rocked by cruel words and violence in this epic, a piece of rough beauty itself.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An epic along the lines of Middlesex in the way it follows a family through time and examines the results of their actions . . . . A brooding novel, engrossing in its scope and detail, THE O’BRIENS keeps sight of the family’s personal stories amid the larger history of much of the twentieth century.” —Booklist
“Behrens’s characters are engaging and the history of the various cities, budding industries, and wars expertly handled . . . . Behrens’ writing is strong.” —Library Journal
“The O’Briens is a wonderful epic, across the generations and the continent. Another triumph for a writer who is fast proving he can write just about anything.” —Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland
About the author:
Peter Behrens is the author of The O’Briens and The Law of Dreams (which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was published around the world to wide acclaim) and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic and Tin House. Honors he has received include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program.
The O’Briens by Peter Behrens (excerpt)