"It was the first tractor on the mountain and its arrival would be remembered and relayed; the day, the hour of evening, and the way crows circled above it, blackening the sky, fringed, soundless, auguring."
Edna OBriens masterly new novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations betweenJoseph Brennan and Mick Bugler "the warring sons of warring sons" in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, OBrien brings Josephs love for his land to the level of his sister Breeges love for both him and his rival, Bugler. Breege sees "the wrong of years and the recent wrongs" fuel each other as Bugler comes to claim recently inherited acreage on what her brother calls "my mountain." A classic drama ensues, involving the full range of human bonds and betrayals and leavened by the human comedy of which Edna OBrien rarely loses sight. A dinner dance in the local village and the seduction of Mick Bugler by an eager pair of uninhibited sisters rival Joyce in their hectic exuberance. But as the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into the sense of foreboding in a place where "fields mean more than fields, more than life and more than death too."
San Francisco Chronicle
As a lyrical stylist O'Brien is a match for anyone living, and a worthy heir to her great forebears in Irish literature.
The supporting cast, which could have easily seemed two-dimensional (wily old solicitor, gossiping hairdresser, dumbfounded local cops) transcends stereotype in OBriens memorably drawn portraiture. Her mastery of tone and register keeps Wild Decembers churning even when its a foregone conclusion where all that anger will lead. Proof again that in the hands of an artist, no plot is hackneyed, no emotion too obvious.
A mood akin to that of Wuthering Heights - and indeed the spirit of Emily Brontë seems to hover over this novel...The acts of the main protagonists are unapologetically grand and elemental. Edna O'Brien is one of our bravest and best novelists.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
Wild Decembers was at elast an interesting book. Sometimes the storline was alittle hard to follow because of the narration technique used, but that's also what brings the book to life. Her writing style is very lyrical, and I enjooyed the fact... Read More
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