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The Resource Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor

Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor

Label
Star of the Sea
Title
Star of the Sea
Statement of responsibility
Joseph O'Connor
Title variation
Star of the Sea
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Award
  • ALA Notable Book, 2004.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2003
Review
  • O’Connor’s luscious book brews the suspense of a thriller with the scope and passion of a Victorian novel--seasoned in authentic historical detail and served up in language that is equal parts lyrical and gritty. A voyage from Ireland to New York in 1847 brings together people whose lives--past and present--twist around each other in ways that threaten to strangle. While some have more personal reasons for making the crossing, they’re also emigrating from a country scorched by famine, oppression, and the violence erupting from a desperate underclass. The author loads the ship with compelling characters, and the most intriguing is the vengeful and cunningly manipulative Pius Mulvey. In this passage, he kills a prison guard who had abused him: “He sank to his hunkers, said an Act of Contrition in his dying rapist’s ear and bashed in what was left of his face with the rock.” Mulvey deserves a place among the classic villains of literature, just as his creator, a Dublin-based novelist, is earning his spot in the ranks of great Irish storytellers. (Reviewed March 15, 2003) -- Karen Holt
  • First published in the U.K. and shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year, this brooding new historical fiction by novelist, playwright and critic O'Connor (Cowboys and Indians ) chronicles the mayhem aboard Star of the Sea , a leaky old sailing ship crossing from Ireland to New York during the bitter winter of 1847, its steerage crammed to the bulkheads with diseased and starving refugees from the Irish potato famine. The novel takes the form of a personal account written by passenger G. Grantley Dixon, a New York Times reporter who intersperses his narrative with reportage and interviews as he describes the intrigue that unfolds during the 26-day journey. There's Pius Mulvey, "a sticklike limping man from Connemara" known to the passengers as "the monster" or "the ghost," who shuffles menacingly around the ship and is the subject of many a rumor. There's Earl David Merridith of Kingscourt, one of the few passengers in first class, who has evicted thousands of his tenants for nonpayment of rent, dooming them and their families to almost certain death by starvation. Also aboard is the young widow, Mary Duane, a nanny for the Kingscourt children who shares a history of intimacies with both Kingscourt and Mulvey. And there is, of course, Kingscourt's wife, with whom Dixon is having an ill-advised affair. One of these passengers is on a mission to commit murder, and another is the fated victim. Through flashbacks, the complicated narrative paints a vivid picture of the rigors of life in Ireland in the mid-19th century. The engrossing, well-structured tale will hold historical fiction fans rapt. 4-city author tour. (May) --Staff (Reviewed April 14, 2003) (Publishers Weekly, vol 250, issue 15, p47)
  • /* Starred Review */ Aboard the creaky Star of the Sea , a motley handful of first-class passengers and hundreds of evicted tenants fleeing the 1840s Irish famine endure a stormy voyage to America. The first-class passengers include a bankrupted Irish landlord, Lord David Merridith; his discontented wife, Laura; an aspiring American man of letters, G. Grantley Dixon; and a compassionate English doctor who cares for dying famine victims below deck. Completing this microcosm of Irish society are Merridith's servant, Mary Duane, a victim of sexual abuse by her employer, and a mysterious Irish balladeer in steerage named Pius Mulvey, who is gradually revealed to be a notorious murderer armed with a mandate to kill David Merridith before the ship's arrival in New York harbor. Oscillating between the life stories of the characters in Ireland and the deaths of dozens of weakened famine victims aboard the ship, O'Connor (Cowboys and Indians ) brilliantly weaves together an intriguing plot, a cast of memorable characters, and some stunningly realistic dialog. Universal themes of love, loyalty, vengeance, and violence are explored in the context of a troubled class-ridden society convulsed by the catastrophic potato blight. This first-rate historical thriller will prove popular in all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/03.]—Joseph M. Eagan, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore --Joseph M. Eagan (Reviewed May 1, 2003) (Library Journal, vol 128, issue 8, p157)
  • /* Starred Review */ A bumptious epic about a New World–bound ship Star of the Sea, full of raging immigrants, conflicted aristocrats, and a flint-eyed murderer.It's the tumultuous year of 1847 when O'Connor's gallimaufry of characters board a "coffin ship" bound from Ireland to New York. Hundreds of famine refugees huddle in steerage, while just above them a handful of first-class passengers reside in splendor, though they're rent with hidden intrigues—and all hear the thudding gait of the loner with the bad leg who wanders the ship at night. At center are two men in particular: the aristocrat David Merridith and the limping loner, Pius Mulvey. Merridith is a self-loathing scion of a British family that had long owned a large chunk of Ireland. When the estate's fortunes crashed, at the height of the famine, most of the tenant families were put off the land—while corpses littered the countryside. Now on his way to New York with wife and children, Merridith has many secrets, most concerning their servant, Mary Duane. Pius is of a different stripe, though he hates himself just as much: having abandoned a pregnant girlfriend and his slightly mad brother in Ireland, Pius made himself into a high-living thief in London's East End, one night even giving great inspiration to Charles Dickens, who was slumming for material. Later come to ruin, Pius has been embarked on a mission by some Hibernian thugs who won't take no for an answer: kill the English scum David Merridith. Told mostly in flashbacks, and mostly through the highly arched voice of first-class passenger and journalist Grantley Dixon, this is the sort of gloriously overstuffed story that could be told in hushed breath over fifteen or so lengthy installments on late-night radio.Irish author O'Connor (Yeats Is Dead!, 2001; etc.) pulls out all the melodramatic stops for a thrilling tale without once losing his eye for the right detail or his ear for the perfect phrase. (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
072247
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1963-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
O'Connor, Joseph
Index
no index present
Intended audience
850L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
UG
Literary form
fiction
Reading level
6.5
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Ocean travel
  • Immigrants
  • Ireland
Label
Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
449931
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
xxiii, 386 pages
Isbn
9780151009084
Lccn
2003001984
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780151009084
  • (Sirsi) ADJ-2113
Label
Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
449931
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First U.S. edition.
Extent
xxiii, 386 pages
Isbn
9780151009084
Lccn
2003001984
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780151009084
  • (Sirsi) ADJ-2113

Library Locations

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      30.2486884 -97.76239749999999
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