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Redemption Falls

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  735 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
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 a young boy she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate h ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Harvill Secker (first published 2007)
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Jun 07, 2009 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
This book might stay on my "currently-reading" shelf for years. Seriously dense, with confusing, stream-of-consciousness writing, I've read the first 50 or so pages and I still have no idea what this book is about. I loved it's predecessor, The Star of the Sea. This book is not a sequel, by any stretch of the imagination. One of the characters is simply the daughter of two of the characters in Star of the Sea. And I'm not even clear on who the father is supposed to be.

I'm not clear on anything a
Jul 01, 2008 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War Reenactors who shop at Celtic Wonders.
Take one part ersatz Wm. Faulkner (the story begins, basically, with a barefoot girl fearlessly crossing the countryside) or by Sir Walter Scott influencing Wm. Faulkner. Two parts of Cormac McCarthy at his bloodiest (the mute, murderous boy, Jeddo Mooney, is pretty much a McCarthy stock character). Throw in a smidge of Daniel Defoe and quite a bit of 19th century adventure pulp. Season with every imaginable cliche about the Irish American experience, make the characters (even the "bad" ones) im ...more
Oct 12, 2008 Littlespy rated it it was amazing
Redemption Falls is an epic Reconstruction era set novel based around the fate of a mute Confederate boy soldier and an former convict Irish aggitator turned Union General Con O'Keeffe and by extension those lives and histories that they are connected to.

The setting for the novel is the USA's painful recovery from the Civil War and this mixture of healing wounds and unrepairable damage both to the physicallity, the psyche and the very fabric of American society is at the the heart of the fractu
Alistair P D
Feb 21, 2012 Alistair P D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Redemption Falls (is the title ironic?) is a powerful novel whose de facto setting is the eponymous township, just after the end of the American Civil War. It's probably misleading to claim O'Connor's book is "about" any one character: the major players are all important and contribute to the O. Henry-like conclusion.

Many readers have found Redemption Falls confusing and unreadable - persevere! O'Connor mixes the styles considerably, but each part, each chapter advances the whole, presenting not
Padraig Barry
Jul 09, 2008 Padraig Barry rated it it was amazing
What an incredible piece of fiction! This sequel to Star of the Sea gets two thumbs up. Such is the amazing attention to detail I had to continually remind myself that it was a work of fiction. O'Connor is a master story-teller (the Salman Rushdie of Ireland) and if you liked Star of the Sea you will love Redemptin Falls.
Marius van Blerck
Aug 04, 2009 Marius van Blerck rated it it was ok
Somewhere underneath this collection of "stream of consciousness" ramblings lurks a great story. Perhaps the author will tell it one day.
Jan 11, 2008 Renee rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what was going on for the first fifty pages but if you stick with you will fall in love with this book.
May 07, 2015 Allan rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was another complex novel, to follow 'Star of the Sea' which charted the voyage of an emigrant ship to USA from Ireland in 1847, yet through the various strands of the novel, told the stories of landowner, tenant and insurgent in the 19th century through its pages, in what was a style that was sometimes hard to follow.

At times I found this novel similarly difficultstructure wise. As well as featuring Eliza Duane Mooney, daughter of Mary Duane from the first novel, on her quest to find her y
Elizabeth K.
Feb 10, 2013 Elizabeth K. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-new-reads
Often when I read novels like this, where the story unfolds from about a million different points of view via letters and newspaper articles and diary entries and the time jumps all over the place, I think to myself "I've put in a lot of reading time, I've paid my dues, I'm too old for these shenanigans." But just when I was about to give up (about 1/4 way in) it did really come together and I was hooked.

It takes place in the years right after the Civil War, about the convergence of the aforemen
Sarah Gloudemans
Sep 13, 2011 Sarah Gloudemans rated it really liked it
I started this book in March 2010 but couldn't get through it...
I started this book again in April 2011 and finally I got it! In the beginning I had to look up some of the details about the Civil war but once I refreshed my historical knowledge it was easier to read. It did take a long time for me to get through the book because I had to get used to all the different characters and the way he writes from one personage to another. But when all the pieces of this puzzle started falling into place
Mary Lou
Dec 27, 2011 Mary Lou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish, favourites
A chronicle of the lives of a group of characters just after the end of the American civl war. This is an epic told in a dreamlike style- jumping from character to character and time frame to time frame, in a variety of ways from different perspectives- and I think it really works.

The book managed to be at the same time very bleak, but with some redemption and just as paradoxically, there were sections I absolutely loved and parts I disliked a lot. This work should not be undertaken lightly- it
Feb 09, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly lyrical book, centering around James "Con" O'Keefe and his wife Lucia. Sent to New Zealand for his part in agitating for Irish home rule, he escapes and makes his way to America where he rises to the rank of general in the Union army during the civil war. He then assumes governership of part of the Western territories, and it is at this point that most of the story unfolds. The novel reminds one of a scrapbook at times rather than a single-threaded story line.
Nov 24, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing
I picked this up without knowing what it was about, because I had previously really enjoyed Star of the Sea and like O'Connor's writing. I know next to nothing about the American Civil War and its aftermath, so it was really good to find out more. I found the book incredibly evocative, and unlike a lot of readers here it seems, I was gripped from the start. I found it a very gripping read, giving profound & very real insights into the traumatic consequences of war. Highly recommended.
Apr 11, 2008 Ti rated it it was ok
I was so looking forward to this book but after 200 pages, I just about tossed it across the room. Written by Joseph O'Connor..of Star Of The Sea fame. This book is supposed to be a sequel of sorts to Star...but after 200 pages there were only a few references to what took place in the first book. Same writing style but with this one, I could not get used to it and never knew who was speaking.
Apr 05, 2016 Godlarvae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A most unique writing, using flashbacks, interviews, period pictures, ethnic/regional/dated language, disjointed story lines . . . all sometimes stirred with a healthy dose of seeming chemical mind alteration. The reader had to remain alert at all times to keep the story going and be willing to embrace the sometimes incoherent order.
One was pulled into the tale by these differing lures, wondering what was going to happen next. Sometimes some of the brutally short chapters allowed the reader to
Mar 14, 2010 P.walsh rated it it was amazing
Initially I found it somewhat hard going, not so much the different voices and devices as the fact that the narrative seemed unfocused. I persisted and was I rewarded! I fell in love with the book and felt bereft when it ended.
Christopher P.
Mar 16, 2015 Christopher P. rated it it was ok
Prior to reading this book I had read many mixed reviews on the novel. Many readers complained about the convoluted narration, that jumps from one perspective to the next, focusing on one character here and then another there. But I was amazed by O'Connor's STAR OF THE SEA. His challenging style in that novel was worth every word. Not so in REDEMPTION FALLS.

The basic plot in Redemption Falls is very good. The characters are as interesting as any in Star Of The Sea. The back drop of post civil wa
Leah Lockhart
Aug 18, 2009 Leah Lockhart rated it it was amazing
The beginning is a bit confusing and slow but Joseph strikes again with layered stories and characters that you get attached to and are actually interested in.
Aug 08, 2014 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The main bulk written in Dickensian style, interspersed with items from journals, newspapers,court proceedings, adverts, poetry and songs, each and every one being a continuation of the story.
Set in and around a frontier town in `The Territory` in America immediately following the Civil War. It is mainly centred around one General Con O`Keeffe, an Irish rebel and escapee from Tasmania,who is now governor of the area, having fought well for the Federal army.Other characters include his wife, thei
Dec 05, 2011 Pukapuka rated it it was ok
Very clever I'm sure but I just can't get in to it. It's here there and bloody everywhere.
Jean Carlton
Nov 13, 2014 Jean Carlton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
I enjoy the writing of O'Connor. Chapter headings were in headline format with an unusual way to tell the reader what is coming. The story takes place in the years following the Civil War as it plays out for several sets of characters. The story itself ends with a quote by Walt Whitman, "The real war will never get in the books."
A final section called Coda is dated 1937 by a Professor McLelland; a descendant of one of the characters. He notes the curious fact that so many fictions about war are
Catherine Borshuk
Sep 22, 2010 Catherine Borshuk rated it liked it
Currently reading because his Star of the Sea was so much fun. But this - ? - no idea what to make of it so far. I don't see an explicit continuity with the previous book. And O'Connor seems to make up a new word every paragraph (words like swiddling or makepappering that I suspect may be in some very old dictionary somewhere that only he has access to anymore). And the multiple narratives - told in multiple dialects and formats, not just voices, but historical documents and op/eds etc. - don't ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Jun 24, 2013 Marguerite Kaye rated it really liked it
This was a difficult book to get into. The narrative structure, like Star of the Sea, is a tangle of letters, diaries, narrative, songs and poems. There are a large cast of characters, and it was almost impossible for the first 50 or so pages to understand how any of the story hung together. You get distracted by the stylised prose, and by the almost too-clever writing, and I'd say there's a good chance that some people would give up. I almost did, but I'm so glad I didn't, because once you get ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Borrowed it from my aunt, who hadn't liked it.
A worthwhile read, dealing with a period immediately after the US Civil War. Most of the action takes place in the eponymous town, a God-forsaken place somewhere in Montana (there was, I think, one reference to the modern-day setting in the novel). O'Keeffe the governor is as much a dissatisfied sinner as those he governs, yet he endured a horrific journey from captivity to be here, which mirrors (albeit on a more epic scale) the sad tales of many of the first Americans. As selfish and unsympath ...more
Jan 15, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
There were many things that I liked about the book. While most of the characters were not particularly likable, they were at least interesting. It takes place mostly during post civil period and primarily it what I believe is Kansas - in the book it is referred to as a territory, so the setting is not exact. At times I was spellbound by the beautiful, lyrical writing of O'Connor, but he writing style changes a lot. Throughout much of the book there is a bit of confusion. That is because there ar ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Redemption Falls' was one of the hardest fictional novel that I had to finish. This is in no part the fault of the author, Joseph O'Connor. His immense knowledge of the English language is beyond doubt as he weaves a grand tale of intricacy and detail to make the reader eventually learn the core of the story.

It was the constant switch between common speech of that era and grammatically correct English that bothered me most about the book. I had to endure endless referings to the dictionary and
Aug 23, 2012 Mathieu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
How to tell the story of a legend? How to tell history? How to tell a story in history?

Joseph O'Connor continues, after "Star of the Sea," to explore history, a history charged with significance for Ireland and the Irish. A single thread links his previous novel set in the time of the Famine with this one, set in the American Civil War. Contrary to Star of the Sea, this novel isn't a web of lives intermingling but focuses on one powerful, larger-than-life, figure: James O'Keefe, an Irish revolu
Aug 01, 2012 Daniel rated it liked it
... I did read Redeption Falls right after Joseph O'Connor's pretty damn special Star of the Sea. Must admit, I was disappointed by this one. If you like literary abandon, great language and inventive story telling, check it out. Just like Star of The Sea O'Connor again employs hugely crafty ways of weaving his tale. He builds a faux-reality by creating news articles, witness reports, songs, wanted posters, personal letters and recordings - all finely crafted down to highlighting missing pages, ...more
I don't even know why I picked this book up. I shouldn't have liked it. The subject matter - reconstruction era America - is not something I generally like reading about, and the style is one I tend to avoid. I've no idea why I took it out of the library in the first place, but I did, and it took me a week or two to pick it up after that, but then I couldn't stop reading.

My knowledge of 19th century America is patchy, at best, and my American geography is probably about as good as most Americans
Feb 24, 2015 S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Okay, first of all, this book is referred to as a squeal of sorts to Star of the Sea. It's really not. It's implied that two of the characters are the children of one of the characters from Star of the Sea, but it's really of no importance. So, don't read this if you're looking for more on the guys from Star of the Sea, and don't think you'll have to read Star of the Sea before reading this one.
Redemption Falls is written in the same way as Star of the Sea, in that it's told from many different
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There is more than one author with this name

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of the novels Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes , The Salesman , Inishowen , Star of the Sea and Redemption Falls , as well as a number of bestselling works of non-fiction.

He was recently voted ‘Irish Writer of the Decade’ by the readers of Hot Press magazi
More about Joseph O'Connor...

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