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Redemption Falls [Paperback]

Joseph O'Connor
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2008

1865. The American Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the famine ship Star of the Sea docked at New York, the daughter of two of her passengers sets out from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a walk across a devastated America. Eliza Duane Mooney is searching for her younger brother she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.

It's a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors: a love-struck cartographer, a haunted Latina poetess, rebel guerrilla Cole McLaurenson, runaway slave Elizabeth Longstreet and the mercurial revolutionary James Con O'Keeffe, who commanded a brigade of Irish immigrants in the Union Army and is now Governor of a western wilderness where nothing is as it seems.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099481529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099481522
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 259,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Redemption Falls is a major work of modern fiction from an astonishingly accomplished writer" (Terry Eagleton Guardian)

"The words 'A Masterpiece' are too often bandied around in reviews, but they should be this novel's subtitle" (Sunday Tribune)

"Broad and ambitious...beautifully the heart of O'Connor's masterful epic lies a universal hope for something better" (Observer)

"A superb achievement" (Irish Times)

"A novel of vaulting ambition. O'Connor's finest work to date" (Sunday Independent)

Book Description

A tale of hatreds and mercies, of balladry and the blues, of war and peace and the healing power of forgiveness, Redemption Falls is an epic novel and an unforgettable love story, from the author of international best-seller Star of the Sea.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars challenging, but worth persevering 17 Jun 2008
I've read Joseph O'Connor's books before and really enjoyed the humour in the early ones and then loved 'The Star of the Sea' which really puts his writing on a new level. I found this book a little hard to get into as it's not your average novel. But after a while, I got used to the unusual story-telling and found that it was compelling. The novel has real pace, even though it's 700 odd pages long and though initially there seem to be diversions, it's all relevant in the end. I think this book is a real achievement and I wouldn't be suprised if it wins awards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed though I'm not the literary type 14 July 2013
Have been an avid fan of J O'C for many years, and bought this as a last minute holiday read. Sadly I found the content very laborious and flow of chapters disjointed, though admittedly very well crafted. Too hard going and slow for me, a bit of a damp squib that just fizzled out. Did I read the same book?
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a masterpiece 7 Aug 2007
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Joseph O'Connor's Redemption Falls is a dense text, frighteningly thick and closely typed. But within the covers is a work of exquisite art.

The novel centres around an Irish revolutionary, latterly Acting Governor of the Mountain Territory in 1860s America, called Con O'Keeffe. The novel comprises legal documents, ballads, poems, interviews, narratives and a host of other paraphernalia associated with O'Keeffe and his clan. The level of detail is breathtaking and the number of voices is bewildering.

But it is the number of voices that will cause the reader the greatest problems. In order to make them all distinctive - which is done with varying levels of success - different devices and styles are used. These include phonetic spelling; lack of punctuation; folksy idiom and many others. This makes the novel initially impenetrable and the narrative very difficult, if not impossible, to follow. Nevertheless, it does become clearer as the book wends its course and it would be interesting to revisit the earlier chapters to see how they appear with the benefit of hindsight.

O'Connor's language use of language is masterful. The straight narratives are beautifully balanced, with an almost poetic feel. Ironically, the prose is sometimes more poetic than the verse. O'Connor manages to use the language to create a culture that sits between Ireland and the USA that we now know. The Irishmen of the Mountain Territory are proud of their heritage, but are equally clear that they are working to an American future, embracing the principles of wealth and slavery as they go.

The plot is at best ambiguous. We are left to form our own judgement on O'Keeffe's morals and virtues. The evidence that is presented conflicts and contradicts in many places.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will become a classic. 4 July 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This breathtaking, heartrending story is a great work of literature that satisfies on every level. With so many accomplished styles and voices. O'connor's mature analysis of a nation in crisis brings characters to vivid life, depicting the harsh realities, the social and political history of the American Civil War. Even the most haunting scenes of violence are conveyed with poetic precision and minute moments of humanity will burn themselves into your memory long after you've put the book down.

The characters are almost wincingly real, flawed and tragic but ultimately, this dark story shows how the human soul is redeemed by faith and forgiveness... though make no mistake, the journey to get there is relentless,uncompromising and brutal.

This book - much like its prequel, Star of the Sea - will deserve and reward with more than one reading. A big story in every sense of the word...I am sure this is destined to become a classic.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the easiest... 13 Jun 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this to be a difficult book in many ways. At times brilliant, which shows some of the writer's skills showed in 'Star of the Sea' [NB Perhaps better if you read that first?] but I did find it hard to stay with as it lacked a continuity of narrative. In spite of that, I liked the different styles - diary/letters etc. The last line was somewhat predictable but it's not a thriller. Gives a sometimes harrowing picture of a new nation post-civil war with ongoing prejudices. Interesting, but not a blockbuster. To be honest, skip-read the last hundred pages.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweeping piece of historical fiction! 31 May 2007
This book will take you away to a time and place and leave you breathless. This is a broad sweeping story from the American Civil War (especially from the angle of Irish participation) to the expansion of the American west. The book had me laughing and crying, often at the same time. The writing is beautiful, it moves along at a good pace yet is still dense with meaning. A dazzling work that brings history to life!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Redemption falls 4 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was a challenge for me as I found it jumped about so much that it was hard to keep with it. Perhaps reading it with less breaks would have been better.
Having read his book "Star of The Sea" which I really enjoyed, I wasn't expecting this one to require quite so much effort. To be honest I think I could have used the time better and will think twice about buying another of his books.
What I would say in its favour is that it gives a feel for how life might have been after the civil war in the USA.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars In sadness ..
As one who was brought up with the maxim that if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all, it's with a heavy heart that I comment on this book. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by K. R. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Try the audio book
I have the audio version of Redemption Falls, read expertly and impressively by Peter Marinker. It's a densely- populated book but the actor manages to cover the diverse... Read more
Published on 22 Dec 2011 by Ventris Arden
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly worth the effort.....
"Follow up" to the brilliant Star of the Sea and, for me, an even better book. I had heard that much about Star of the Sea, prior to reading it, that my expectations were probably... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy reading, but certainly a captivating one.
Ok, let's state the obvious: this is a difficult reading. Affected words, multiple points of view, different styles, pictures, fragments of poems, ballads, letters, phonetic... Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2010 by Alessandra F.
2.0 out of 5 stars Grim to the point of comedy
Having read Star of the Sea, I now know Joseph O'Connor's technique: he swallows a dialect dictionary and spits out a novel.

It's innovative, poetic in parts. Read more
Published on 21 May 2010 by Andy Lake
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
excellent customer service. fast delivery. everything was up to scratch. very happy with this seller
Published on 25 April 2010 by fonky
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book
Redemption Falls deserves all the praise that has been lavished upon it
Published on 15 July 2009 by Litfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Set in the hard times following the aftermath of the American Civil War, in an unamed Western state, Redemption Falls follows the lives of a diverse range of characters - the... Read more
Published on 8 July 2009 by Full moon dream
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding achievement
This is an astonishing book. I don't agree with reviewers who said the different narrative voices are boring - I really enjoyed them. Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by Gemma Parkes
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort
Some may find the opening pages a struggle but PERSEVERE! O'Connors novel scores on so many levels, the richness of the characters he lovingly sculpts, the innovative methods he... Read more
Published on 18 April 2009 by Chris Bentley
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