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The Star Of The Sea (Vintage 21st Anniv Editions) by [O'Connor, Joseph]
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The Star Of The Sea (Vintage 21st Anniv Editions) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Amazon Review

Tragedy is a word too often used. Nevertheless, in Star of the Sea Joseph O'Connor manages to achieve a real sense of the tragic, as personal dramas of the most distressing kind play themselves out against the background of the Irish potato famine and the almost equal nightmare of the mass emigration that it caused. As passengers die of starvation and disease in steerage, a drama of adultery, inadvertent incest and inherited disease plays itself out in first class. O'Connor raises, and does not attempt definitively to answer, real questions about responsibility and choice.

Bankrupt aristocrat Meredith is emigrating, pursued by the hatred of his tenants and the memory of his mad-hero father. His children's nurse, Mary, has memories of lost love to torment her, as well as of the husband and child who died of hunger. And the ballad singer Mulvey has both his monstrous past and the certain promise that he will be tortured to death by the Liable Men should he not kill Meredith. This is a kaleidoscopic novel, whose events are seen in many idioms, from many points of view--it is a rich novel that knows that there are limits to the sense that can be made of history. --Roz Kaveney

Review

A powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star

By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died.

A brave and artful novel.

PRAISE FOR STAR OF THE SEA
“A brave and artful novel.”—THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“In Star of the Sea, O’Connor has written not only an epic novel, but also a very important one. By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died.”
—IRISH ECHO
“Along the way O’Connor even brings in a thoroughly gripping murder mystery that is all the more affecting for the depth he gives his characters. They add up to a powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star.”—PEOPLE


PRAISE FOR STAR OF THE SEA
"A brave and artful novel."--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"In Star of the Sea, O'Connor has written not only an epic novel, but also a very important one. By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died."
--IRISH ECHO
"Along the way O'Connor even brings in a thoroughly gripping murder mystery that is all the more affecting for the depth he gives his characters. They add up to a powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star."--PEOPLE


PRAISE FOR STAR OF THE SEA
A brave and artful novel. THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
In Star of the Sea, O Connor has written not only an epic novel, but also a very important one. By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died.
IRISH ECHO
Along the way O Connor even brings in a thoroughly gripping murder mystery that is all the more affecting for the depth he gives his characters. They add up to a powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star. PEOPLE
"

PRAISE FOR STAR OF THE SEA
A brave and artful novel. THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
In Star of the Sea, O Connor has written not only an epic novel, but also a very important one. By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died.
IRISH ECHO
Along the way O Connor even brings in a thoroughly gripping murder mystery that is all the more affecting for the depth he gives his characters. They add up to a powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star. PEOPLE
"

PRAISE FOR STAR OF THE SEA
"A brave and artful novel."--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"In Star of the Sea, O'Connor has written not only an epic novel, but also a very important one. By deconstructing the most defining moment of Irish history, and breaking down its essential components, he has given a face and a voice to the million who died."
--IRISH ECHO

"Along the way O'Connor even brings in a thoroughly gripping murder mystery that is all the more affecting for the depth he gives his characters. They add up to a powerfully symbolic microcosm of the time. Bottom Line: Shining Star."--PEOPLE


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2380 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (11 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099563096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099563099
  • ASIN: B004I8WLC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,052 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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yes very satisfied and in the middle of reading the book now...A page turner
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Arrived in no time at all and as described
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A very moving account of a particularly dark and painful period of Irish history. Beautifully written
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Prompt delivery
Excellent novel from master story teller
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brilliant book.
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Afraid it was too dark for me at the time - other book club members loved it though. Make your own mind up
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Format: Paperback
I devoured this novel on a recent vacation to Florida, making a nice counterpoint to traipsing around DisneyWorld with the kids. It is undoubtedly one of the finest novels I've read in the last couple of years.
O'Connor's characters are astonishingly well drawn. Set firmly in the historical context, one could quite easily believe they existed, though the nearest thing to a narrator – Grantley Dixon - is perhaps the least believable figure and potentially the novel's only weak point.
All the key POV characters - Merredith, Mulvey, Mary Duane - are drawn in shades of grey. Indeed, Pius Mulvey is an extremely sympathetic protagonist until events and his own dark urges take him beyond the point of no return on the road to Leeds. It’s at this point that all sympathy is lost. Even the secondary characters – Captain Lockwood, Rev Deedes, Nicholas Mulvey, Laura Merredith – are nicely delineated. O’Connor has a genuine gift for characterisation.
The novel’s structure is likewise fascinating. In many ways it resembles Stoker’s Dracula in its use of diary accounts, letters and recollections from multiple viewpoints. By wrapping the whole story up in authentic trappings, the novel has the air of a historical document. Even if these stylistic flourishes are disregarded, you’re left with a truly compelling plot and a nice final twist.
Star of the Sea is polemical without being naïve. It’s heart wrenching without becoming soapy (far from it). It’s understandably downbeat without being depressing. Above all, it’s a great tale derived from a dark chapter in the history of these Isles and the author is a massive talent.
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Format: Paperback
The Daily Telegraph comment on the back of Joseph O'Connor's epic novel remarks that it is: 'A terrific story; a stealthily gripping narrative', which just about sums it up for me. O'Connor presents a harrowing and no-holds barred account of a once-proud vessel, now reduced to ferrying desperate Irish paupers across the Atlantic to begin their lives anew in 'the land of the free' in the middle of the nineteenth century; amongst these sick and starving villeins though stalks a murderer, and at least one of the boat's first-class passengers is firmly in the villain's sights.

The main tale takes few detours to fill in back stories for the novel's two chief protagonists, as well as incorporating an extract from a novel written by the eponymous boat's resident Charles Dickens wannabe, and several epistolary chapters that serve to give the reader greater insight into the motives and psyches of some of the book's characters. O'Connor's style is straightforward yet strangely compelling, and the story weaves a spell on the reader enabling you to almost experience the (often diabolical) sights, sounds, and stenches depicted as the boat gradually nears its destination.
The Star of the Sea is certainly not a novel for the faint-hearted, but it remains an important and honest insight into a time when the British Empire was at its zenith, and the gap between the poor and the wealthy was flaunted in all its bloated, vainglorious perversity.
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