Peter Behrens: The O'Briens
Monday April 9, 2012
In Peter Behrens new novel, The O'Briens, the author tells the epic story of one family as they move through half a century of history. Behrens discussed the inspiration behind The O'Briens and read from two passages in the novel. This event was presented in partnership with The New York Society Library.
The O'Briens is a family story unlike any you have read, a tale that pours straight from the heart of a splendid, tragic, ambitious clan. In Joe O'Brien—backwoods boy, railroad magnate, patriarch, brooding soul—Peter Behrens gives us a fiercely compelling character who exchanges isolation and poverty in the Canadian wilds for a share in the dazzling possibilities and consuming sorrows of the twentieth century. When Joe meets Iseult Wilkins in Venice-by-the-Sea, California, the story of their courtship—told in Behrens's gorgeous, honed style—becomes the first movement in a symphony of the generations. The O'Briens is the story of a marriage and a family moving through history—from the first flying machines, through two world wars, to the election of JFK—told with epic precision and wondrous imagination.
Peter Behrens is the author of The Law of Dreams—awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction in Canada and published around the world to wide acclaim—and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. He has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, among other honors.