House of Anansi Press

The O'Briens

Written by Peter Behrens

Published April 28, 2012 | ISBN 9781770890336
FICTION / Literary

Cover of The O'Briens

Regular price $18.95 CAD

528 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

The O'Briens

Peter Behrens

The O'Briens follows the family from The Law of Dreams two generations later: Joe O’Brien is coming of age in a new century in remote Pontiac County, Quebec, with his two brothers and two sisters by his side. Their father has abandoned the family and died in the South African war; their frail mother has remarried the abusive and lecherous Mick Heaney. Joe and his siblings escape the poverty and violence of the Pontiac, but as Joe travels the continent, building a business and a bright young family with his wife, Iseult, he is never quite able to leave his past behind.

Told from the perspectives of Joe, Iseult, and their children and spanning the construction of the Canadian railroad as well as both world wars, this is a majestic novel that mirrors the scope and sweep of what Wilfrid Laurier calls "Canada's Century." Tragic, romantic, and as vivid as the novel that preceded it, The O'Briens is an epic of great heart, imagination, and narrative force.

About the Author

Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens’s first novel, The Law of Dreams, won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and has been published in nine languages. His collection of short stories, Travelling Light, was reissued in 2013. The New York Times called his second novel, The O’Briens (2011), "a major achievement." Carry Me, his third novel, appeared in 2016. His stories and essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, Tin House, Brick, Best Canadian Stories, Best Canadian Essays and many anthologies. Behrens is a native of Montreal and was educated at Lower Canada College, Concordia University, and McGill. He has held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University and was a 2015-16 Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Awards and Praise
  • Commended New York Times Editors' Choice, 2012