~Pdf ♀ Star of the Sea ☤ In The Bitter Winter Of , From An Ireland Torn By Famine And Injustice, The Star Of The Sea Sets Sail For NewYork On Board Are Hundreds Of Refugees, Some Optimistic, Many Desperate Among Them Are A Maid With A Devastating Secret, The Bankrupt Lord Merridith, His Wife And Children, And A Killer Stalking The Decks, Hungry For The Vengeance That Will Bring Absolution This Journey Will See Many Lives End, Others Begin Anew Passionate Loves Are Tenderly Recalled, Shirked Responsibilities Regretted Too Late, And Profound Relationships Shockingly Revealed In This Spellbinding Tale Of Tragedy And Mercy, Love And Healing, The Farther The Ship Sails Toward The Promised Land, The Her Passengers Seem Moored To A Past That Will Never Let Them Go As Urgently Contemporary As It Is Historical, This Exciting And Compassionate Novel Builds With The Pace Of A Thriller To A Stunning Conclusion
A twenty six day sea voyage from famine stricken Ireland to New York The author provides us with the back stories of several of the passengers with a good deal of emphasis on master and servant and failed romance themes We soon learn one of the passengers is a murderer and has been ordered to slit the throat of a bankrupt landlord in first class whose father ill treated his tenants I preferred this to Redemption Falls because it s a straightforward narrative without all the distracting quirks of his other book, the story is compelling, the characters engaging and the quality of the prose was excellent throughout. I listened to this book on a long trip recently and once again really enjoyed the experience, The play Star Of The Sea is coming to my local theatre and I am really looking forward to seeing it acted as a play ad was great to refresh my memory in advance of the play Every now and then a book comes along that I feel passionate about and Joseph O Connor s Star of the Sea is one of those books that tells the harrowing and tragic story of the Irish Potato famine of 1840 s Ireland and the voyage of the coffin Ship Star of The Sea to America.I had read this book in 2011 and came across a hard back edition in a second hand book shop and just had to read this wonderful book again, I don t like re reading books that I have loved as I always fear that I wont have the same experience second time around But I found this book even better on the second read and perhaps came away gettingfrom the story.The story is beautifully layered and dense read, a mystery novel and a well crafted historical thriller, On board the ship hundreds of fleeing refugees and among them a maidservant with a devastating secret, bankrupt Lord Merridith and his family, and aspiring novelist a maker of revolutionary ballads, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home There are likable and dislikable characters and never a dull moment All this took place in 1840s Ireland that decade in which a million of the Irish underclass died as a consequence of famine This is such a realistic novel and depicts the Irish famine so well, the story is told in a series of flashbacks, letters, log entries and reminiscences It is not a depressing novel and there is plenty of humour The characters are extremely well drawn and the book has a wonderful sense of time and place O Connor is a talented writer and this is historical fiction at its best Highly recommended for lovers of mystery novels with quality history fiction as the backdrop. Despite historical fiction not being my thang, there is no doubt that O Connor is an astonishingly accomplished writer A book that will transport you back in time, to a wintry voyage in the mid 1880s, where a vengeful killer hides in plain view A brilliant novel that roams far beyond the boundaries of the ship upon which it s set, Star of the Sea is a gripping tale of murder, revenge, cruelty and love set against the backdrop of The Famine It s so well written that the complex structure of the book seems natural and the shifting perspectives of the narrative effortless The three main characters are so well developed and realized that they command your attention from the first page, and the secondary characters are alwaysthan mere types I was genuinely moved by this book, which really brought home the awfulness of The Famine, while somehow never becoming sentimental I loved it. This brought home to methan any dry history could the extent of and devastating effects of the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s Through this novel I felt keenly the suffering of the Irish and the devastating effects of the Potato Famine For many, thrown off their small plots of land by their heartless landlords, the way to escape their poverty and privation was to emigrate to America.This is the story of the 1847 voyage of a ship filled with emigrants the Star of the Sea and her captain and crew One man from Connemara, Pius Mulvey, is forced to undertake the murder of impoverished Lord Kingscourt David Merridith, an Englishman Those who order him are members of a clandestine group of agitators, the Hibernian Defenders who hate how cruelly the landowners have treated their tenant farmers They say if Mulvey doesn t do the job, he himself will be killed The story consists of the captain s log for each day at sea 28 and its events As the journey progresses it becomes bleaker andgrim Then various chapters give the backgrounds of Mulvey, Mary Duane whom he seduces, Mirridith and family, and many others An American newspaperman, Dixon, is on board and writes from his point of view continuing after the ship reaches America, its difficulties with the authorities, until concluding on Easter 1916 When I reread the novel, I noticed the significance of the date, the Easter Uprising Against British Rule.The writing was gorgeous and amazing The author waxed poetic on occasion, sometimes excessively so Sometimes the writing was strong and clipped The story twisted and turned interweaving all these lives.A strong, vivid image taken from the description of when the Hibernian Defenders threaten MulveyHe remembered their eyes, so frightened and convinced The black stained sackcloth of the hooded masks they wore The slashed out holes where their mouths appeared They were wielding the tools of their livelihood, but as weapons scythes, mattocks, loys, billhooks Now they had no livelihood left Centuries stolen in one stunning moment Their fathers labour their sons inheritances At the stroke of a pen, they were gone.Black and green fields The green of the banner draped across the table, spattered with ribbons of Mulvey s blood The glint of the weapon they had made him take, the fisherman s knife pressed to his chest, while they raged at him about freedom and land and thievery The words SHEFFIELD STEEL etched into the blade He could feel it now, in the pocket of his greatcoat, nestled to his lacerated thigh He remembered the things they said they would do with that knife if he didn t stop whingeing about murder being too heavy to put on him When they held him down and started to cut him, Mulvey screamed to be allowed to killA poetic description of the ocean Maritime wreckage Bone and driftwood Darker now the wind blasting and stopping, like exchanges on a battlefield when ammunition is low Everything had a blue and shadowy look. Sometimes we heard voices of some of the passengers each was distinct The plot presented some as contemporaneous interviews, letters even to misspellings and Gaelic , an excerpt from a novel of the newspaperman, as songs or prayers One chapter was a litany to the Virgin Mary I could hear the frightened steerage passengers reciting the words I could feel the captain was a compassionate Quaker through his writing I really empathized with the characters and their conditions I felt the stench and squalor of steerage conditions I appreciated the long and detailed Notes Acknowledgements at the end I feel the reality and truth of the novel.Highly recommended. Star of the Sea is set amid the Irish potato famine of the mid nineteenth century My personal interpretation is that the book isof a character study The characters who make the voyage on the ship Star of the Sea to America It isn t a story of hopes or dreams There is no sense that reaching the destination will bring a good change I guess I m not entirely sure what the message was in this book which is an illustration of the confusing writing style and changing viewpoints I was reading this book for the staff book group so I felt I had to finish it.The story seems to begin several times The first half of the book tells the story of each character There is Mary Duane who falls in love with a young David Merridith There are the brothers Pius and Nicholas Mulvey Two boys who couldn t bedifferent in personality There is Dixon, Laura Markham, and Merridith again This opening was the most difficult to follow, convoluted and pretentious way to begin a novel that I have ever had the misfortune to read I felt that Joseph O Connor was trying to demostrate his brilliance in the genre of literary fiction rather than write an interesting mystery I should probably mention that the whole way through the book you know there is going to be a murder Interpersed with all this is the Captain s log of the ship So every once in a while you learn thatpassengers have died in the steerage class from various diseases The only part of the book that I actually enjoyed was the story of Pius Mulvey as he travels around nineteenth century London committing many thefts that become increasingly ingenious and daring It is his time in Newgate prison that was the most fascinating aspect of the book During my degree, I specialised in literature of the city during the eighteenth and nineteeth century so I related to this part of the book because it drew on my prior knowledge Sadly, this part of the book was perhaps only ten pages.The book, including the highly boring epilogue, was 405 pages long I enjoyed perhaps ten of those The only people who I can think will enjoy this book are those who read ridiculously pretentious literacy fiction or have a particular interest in the Irish potato famine Perhaps you need to be aserious reader to enjoy this I ll be intrigued to hear what the rest of the staff in the book group think of this Without a doubt, this book was not for me I wonder if I should be concerned that my husband enjoyed reading ithttp www.thebookette.co.uk I remember this novel being published in 2002, and can only think that I didn t read it at the time as I didn t feel its subject matter would ve been of interest to me, my Irish history interest kicking inin the 20th century I have been thinking about reading it for a while though, and took the opportunity to pick up a second hand copy to read, as a book group I plan to attend is reading Redemption Falls , the novel which follows this one I have to admit that while I liked the book, I didn t love it.The novel takes the form of an account of the voyage undertaken by the steamer in 1847, primarily written by American journalist and aspiring novelist, G Grantley Dixon, returning to his homeland after witnessing the horrors of famine and eviction in Ireland While depicting some of the harrowing scenes of everyday life in steerage on the , coffin ship , the novel tells the story of three main characters Lord Kingscourt, David Merridith, a Galway landlord emigrating with his wife and two sons to USA to set himself up as an architect, Mary Duane, his nanny, and Pius Mulvey, a shady character sent onboard by a secret society to murder Kingscourt in revenge for the treatment of the population at the hands of his recently deceased father Through testimonies, flashbacks and witness statements, in addition to normal narrative, we piece together the pasts of each of the characters, and their links to each other, while, through the captain s log, follow the progress of the ship with its prevalence of death and disease, as it makes its way toward New York.There s no doubt that the novel is extremely well crafted, and the narrative is pieced together very well by O Connor, but I think that for my tastes, it was just a little too intricately done I ve also no doubt that historically speaking, the scenes portrayed both in Ireland and on board are accurate, and they were upsetting to read at times I enjoyed many of the small touches, like Mulvey s meeting with Dickens, and found the medical treatments of the time very interesting I was, however, constantly looking forward to see how many pages I had left to read, wanting to finish the book, without having that feeling of wanting to find out what was going to happen.Perhaps my initial hunch on the book on publication was right Go by the main body of positive reviews for this novel, but to be honest, this wasn t really for me. Although the history of Ireland is rife with dramatic events, there is nonetragic than the Great Famine In the middle of the 19th century the Emerald Isle was hit by Phytophthora infestanscommonly known as the potato blight which also plundered crops across continental Europe, where the 1840 s became known as the Hungry Forties Thousands of people died of starvation as they did not have any other staple food source But the continental famine is a drop in the ocean when it comes to the effect the blight had on Ireland, where one third of the population depended exclusively on the potato as a sole food source Approximately 1 million people starved to death, and a millionleft Ireland for England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and the United States Despite many people dying on ships sailing to the New World mortality rates of 30% were not rare emigration became almost a rite of passage Women emigrated in the same numbers as men, and those who made it to the new country started a new life in a new land, and sent money to their families back home, allowing hem to emigrate as well Landlords evicted the poor tenants en masse to avoid the responsibility of paying the rates for all of those who paid less than four pounds in yearly rent, effectively liquidating the small land plots and letting larger ones for over 4 Few could afford that in time of such crisis, and during the worst part of the famine as much as 250,000 people left in one year by the end of Ireland lost approximately one quarter of its inhabitants Because of the famine and continued emigration the population of Ireland continued to decrease well into the second half of the 20th century.As tragic as the famine, there were things which made it a thousand times worse At the time Ireland was in an union with Great Britain, together forming the United Kingdom Relations between the Irish and the British Crown were strained, heightened by ethnic, religious and political tensions Colonization and war brought Ireland under the British rule, to great resentment of many of its people who staged several open rebellions, oppressing land confiscation and the enforcement of the reformed Christian faith as practiced by the Anglican Church Despite uprisings and protests the two nations were merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, and during the famine Ireland remained a net exporter of food despite people dying of starvation Huge quantities of food continued to be exported to England the export of livestock, ham, bacon and calves actually increased during the famine The poor had no money to buy any food and the government did not issue any ban prohibiting the exports and did little to help the starving The famine was literally the last straw for the people of Ireland as it strengthened Irish Republicanism and campaigns for autonomy and sovereignty, which reached its culmination in the election of 1918 and the overwhelming victory of Sinn F in, which won over 70% of seats of Irish MP s in the British Parliament Sinn F in promptly established a national parliament in Dublin, and declared Ireland s independence as a republic What followed was a war of independence, fought between the Irish Republican Armycommonly known as the IRA and the British government The war ended with a truce in July 1921, and in 1922 both sides signed the Anglo Irish treaty, which in effect partitioned the island between the two powers it led to the creation of the Irish Free State, an autonomous dominion of the British Empire The northern counties of the island almost immediately exercised their right to opt out of the new state, and chose to remain in the UK as Northern Ireland In 1937 Irish citizens voted in a referendum to replace the 1922 constitution with a new one, ending the Irish Free State and declaring Ireland as a sovereign and fully independent from the United Kingdom Ireland declared itself as a republic in 1949, removing King George VI as the constitutional monarch and severing its ties with the British Commonwealth Relations between the two countries became strained once again in 1968 when nationalists and unionists crashed in Northern Ireland, beginning a three decade long conflict known as The Troubles Although the troubles officially ended with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, sporadic violence and riots continue to occur to this day, and a series of barrier walls had to have been developed in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, and keep Irish Nationalists from Ulster Unionists from each other s throats.Bloody history, eh Now the two nations enjoy a common travel area without passport controls and sit next to each other in the EU Despite conflicts and tension still present in Northern Ireland the time to brood over the Great Famine seems to have passed for good Interestingly enough, for such a defining event it has inspired remarkably little literature, poetry and drama there exist countless novels and narratives concerned with slavery in the United States, while the number of creative works about the Irish Famine pales in comparison There s no Beloved, Roots or Huck Finn about the famine, which is especially weird considering the country s rich literary tradition An event so tragic and full of political, social and religious conflicts, with roles all ready for the suffering Irish poor and the greedy Irish landlords and the greedy British aristocrats just begs for a drama proper.Which is where Joseph O Connor enters the scene Brother to the famous Irish singer Sin ad O Connor who infamously ripped up a photo of pope John Paul II on SNL as protest against child abuse in the Church and author of Star of The Sea The eponymous Star is a coffin ship sailing for New York from Britain, hosting a whole poor house from Connemara and a couple of big fish, along with an American journalist and aspiring author and a mysterious solitary man on a secret mission The adjective Dickensian gets thrown around a lot but here it fits perfectly, and the good man himself also makes an appearance in the text.O Connor self consciously apes the Victorian novel by presenting the text as written by Grantley Dixon, the American journalist, who in turn created his narrative from a multitude of sources conversations, ship logs, diaries and letters The book he wants to write follows the cruise chronologically, but is also filled with separate multiple threads which describe the background stories of the passengers before they left Ireland and England Chapters are introduced by the title and a short summary of its events beneath much like in serial novels of the time and the book is filled with authentic illustrations from the period The Star can be seen as a microcosm of Irish or rather British, as it was at the time society, but the novel s separate threads offer a vast scope of personal histories which begin way before their heroes boarded the ship There s material for several separate novels in here, and the work is very consciously epic and manages to pull them all off and have all threads knitted together at the end Difficult marine life on the ship, shades of Belfast and love in rural Connemara mixed with the corruption and abuse of the Irish aristocrats The novel s polyphony of voices features people from all roads and classes of life.One of my favorite novels that I have read this year is Matthew Kneale s English Passengers, which I gave five stars and which earned its place on the shelf of my favorite books Kneale s work also features a multitude of characters with their own distinctive voices on one ship and a fascinating voyage, destination and time it s concerned with the English colonization of Australia and really is quite stellar Similarities between The Star of the Sea and English Passengers end there, but it s a great novel about a tragic part of history which isn t written about very often I doubt that those even remotely interested in Irish history will be able to resist this charm, but I am also sure that even those who know nothing about the period and country will find themselves picking it up with great interest Besides being so many things, it s simply a well done yarn Go ahead and pick it upirinn go Br ch A 400 page grim read that was difficult to penetrate I would not have persevered were it not that a friend had asked me for my opinion on the book, and I had read that other reviewers had struggled with it initially All that said, it is well written but takes a very long time to explain how the various characters are linked so reads as if it is jumping from one unrelated story to another for much of the first half I struggled with the style of writing which, at times tries to reflect that of the period, and uses several contemporary documents There are no heroes, just humanity at its worst and suffering terribly with almost every character showing the black side of human nature, which is maybe what the author wanted to portray If you get beyond half way, you will be compelled to finish the book, so persevere Apparently, he has carried out comprehensive research into the period of the Irish famine and into the Coffin Ships, attempts to portray the real horror of the story on both sides of the Atlantic, and succeeds in this as the book is in part, factually accurate Who is the real villain It would appear to be unbridled human nature, but I m not sure that the author would agree with me.