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Wild Decembers | [Edna O'Brien]

Wild Decembers

Edna O'Brien's masterly novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler, "the warring sons of warring sons", in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister Breege's love for both him and his rival, Bugler.
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Publisher's Summary

Edna O'Brien's masterly novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler, "the warring sons of warring sons", in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister Breege's love for both him and his rival, Bugler. Breege sees "the wrong of years and the recent wrongs" fuel each other as Bugler comes to claim recently inherited acreage on what her brother calls "my mountain."

A classic drama ensues, involving the full range of human bonds and betrayals and leavened by the human comedy of which Edna O'Brien rarely loses sight. A dinner dance in the local village and the seduction of Mick Bugler by an eager pair of uninhibited sisters rival Joyce in their hectic exuberance. But as the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into the sense of foreboding in a place where "fields mean more than fields, more than life, and more than death too."

©2000 Houghton Mifflin Company

What the Critics Say

"The wild Irish humor and savage Irish melancholy that are both legend and stereotype receive exemplary treatment in this powerful novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"O'Brien's beautiful and lush novel Wild Decembers could be described as a fictional working out of the crippling Irish fears she describes." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A mood akin to that of Wuthering Heights, and indeed the spirit of Emily Bronte seems to hover over this novel." (Irish Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (17 )
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  •  
    Stephen C. Young Falmouth, MA United States 01-17-08
    Stephen C. Young Falmouth, MA United States 01-17-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Gorgeous"

    Why is Edna O'Brien so often neglected? Her use of language is so entrancing, her descriptions of place - particularly rural Ireland - so breathtakingly original and her characters - in situation - so memorable and illuminating. I think she should be near the top of any list of the world's greatest writers. As much as I love Cormac McCarthy, O'Brien's use of language is just as original - and she gives us tangible characters and a real community. This is one of her most beautiful creations

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lanea Virginia 05-23-11
    Lanea Virginia 05-23-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bad sound quality, terrible pronunciations"

    I love this book, but I'm very disappointed in the audio version available on Audible. The sound quality is bad, and the editor left in several cues to switch CDs. The reader repeatedly makes a terrible hash of Irish words, and it threw me right out of the story each time. I understand that Irish is not widely spoken, but I think it's the responsibility of both the editor and the reader to study up before attempting a book with non-English vocabulary.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Benjamin Oakland, CA USA 10-23-05
    Larry Benjamin Oakland, CA USA 10-23-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Top Shelf"

    Edna O?Brien has written a five star book. It is a book that sits next to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett on by book shelf, and it is one of my favorite audio books.

    It is hard to understand how this wonderful book had received a one star review. Only those in Ireland who refused to publish Joyce?s Dubliners and those in the U.S. that attempted to prevent Joyce?s Ulysses from being published in America could be so harsh to such a treasure.

    I highly recommend this audio format of Wild Decembers and the book in its written version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberley Calgary, AB, Canada 12-22-13
    Kimberley Calgary, AB, Canada 12-22-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Read the book it may be better"
    What disappointed you about Wild Decembers?

    I still have no clue what the story was about. I have not read the book, so this audio book was the first time I heard the story... However it jumped from one group of people to another quite a bit in the beginning, with no way to really distinguish who was who. I had no clue what was going on and had trouble listening to the book. At one point the book sounded like it went from 3rd person to 1st person, and I had to check to make sure it was the same audio book. Maybe it would have been better if I wasn't listening to it while I cooked and cleaned cause then I could pay full attention to the audio book, maybe I missed things, but I buy audio books to have something to listen to in the background while I work... this is not the audio book for that.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are able to give full attention to the audio book, in other words just sit there and not do anything, it might be a good book. But for myself who listens to audio books while I work this one did not do it for me. I may go get the book and read it instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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