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After The Rising: A Novel (An Irish Trilogy Book 1) (The Irish Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Orna Ross
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

SUNDAY INDEPENDENT: One is immersed in this epic story immediately and effortlessly… The main characters are so well-drawn that you feel you have heard about them in your own life. The novel’s strength is that it puts culpable, fragile flesh and blood - lots of blood - on a defining moment in Irish history… Of particular delight are the many unexpected twists and turns. When you think you've figured out the secrets, you may have got it all wrong. Orna Ross has written a highly ambitious, engaging and evocative novel and a hauntingly captivating read.

IRISH INDEPENDENT: This debut novel from Orna Ross [is] the sort of massive book you could happily curl up with for the entire winter, an impressive canvas interweaving a contemporary story of love, emigration and loss with the complex world of civil war politics, emerging women’s rights and buried secrets. It explores the influence of our families on who we later become, in literary, lyrical language, while still being a captivating read.

EVENING HERALD: The writer is tackling a central theme – and one that’s been sleeping quietly during the almost-century since the Irish State’s foundation: the ideals and ideas of that time and how they affect the very different Ireland of today. The story-within-a-story – desire, hatred, love and a killing in the Civil War – is loosely based on a Wexford murder of the time and ... is a gripping story. The writer has taken on a tough job – interweaving past and present and making them strike fire off each other… [and] has made brilliant use of original sources, including local historians in Wexford, adding the icing on the cake.

Can we ever remake the past that made us?

When Jo Devereux returns to Ireland after an absence of 20 years, the last person she expects to meet at her mother's funeral is Rory O'Donovan. The bitter conflict between her family and his, full of secrets and silences, was the one constant of Jo's childhood.

Now she's back in village where they both grew up, he's urging her to stay and, to her own surprise, she's tempted. Because of him? Because her life in San Francisco is such a disaster since her friend Richard died? Or because she always swore she'd write a book about it all.

So Jo settles into a shed near the beach and embarks on a quest, uncovering astonishing truths about her mother and grandmother and women's role in the conflict known as “The War of The Brothers”, the Irish Civil War of 1922. And also about a killing with consequences that have ricocheted through four generations.

Now Rory, mired in an unhappy marriage, is urging her to rebel again but reading her family history has made Jo cautious. "Rebellion has an energy that sweeps people up," she tells him, "but what happens after the rising?"

Will her exhumation of the past provide the answers she so desperately needs?

AFTER THE RISING was Orna Ross's debut novel. An instant bestseller and universally acclaimed, it has now been reissued by the author.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Isabel Allende once said, "Write what should not be forgotten". That's my guiding principle as a writer. 
My father's uncle was shot during the Irish civil war of 1922/3, though nobody was able to say by whom, or why. And I grew up, fifty years later, in the village where this had happened, surrounded by silence about this event. So when I came to write fiction, it was natural to turn to that time, and its consequences. It seemed to sum up so much of what I wanted to say about what gets spoken and what remains secret and unsaid.
  And also about the struggle every human being experiences between freedom and belonging. Because while the novel is set against the background of the scrappy, squalid conflict that was The Irish Civil War, it is not so much about that as about all sorts of private, intimate and personal wars -- around sexuality, and family, and love. 
  I very much wanted to include the female experience during that war -- called 'The War of The Brothers' though women were more involved in it than the earlier independence struggle -- and draw parallels between the outer, male-driven conflict and other more intimate struggles within family and other close relationships.
  So the book turned into a three-generational family fiction, using a contemporary (1990s) narrator tracing her family history back, and giving us extracts from letters and diaries and scenes she has written herself as she imagines her grandmother and great-aunts and -uncles as young women and men.
I set the shootout that killed Barney to happen in a similar place in Co. Wexford, on the same day as my uncle was shot, and in similar fashion -- a small memorial. A number of things that happened in the novel were taken from real life, like the inquest and investigation into the killing by the Free State court. But a great deal more was invented.
  Readers always want to know which bits "really" happened but it isn't that simple. It all gets very mixed up. All I can say is that I ended up with a story that was very different to what really happened. Imagination came in and filled the blanks, answered the questions I couldn't find "real" answers for, and made a pattern that was reflective of, but very different to, what actually happened.

From the Inside Flap

Historical fiction through a contemporary lens.

Product Details

  • File Size: 550 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Font Publications (December 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006N6BDI8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,808 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sinking sands of Coolanagh - AFTER THE RISING May 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
`WARNING!' they shout. `DANGER! The Sands on this side of the Point are Unstable and Unsafe. Do not Diverge from the Path.'

Orna Ross has written a masterpiece and in this age of exaggeration and hyperbole I hope I can convey just how exceptional is her book After The Rising.

There is not a spare word nor a trite phrase anywhere in this book - the prose is absolutely gorgeous.

She clearly and lyrically tells the story of Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann (The Irish Civil War) and its after effects through the research and recollections of Jo Devereux, who has come into possession of a chest containing her family's terrible secrets. The war between the Free Staters and the Republicans claimed thousands of Irish lives and Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael live on as reminders of that terrible conflict.

A wise nun leading a pre-Cana class told me years ago that the social pathology of a family muscles its way inexorably from generation to generation unless some one person consciously decides to stop it and repair the damage. In Orna's book, we follow that damage in the Parle, O'Donovan and Devereux families.

Orna writes a battle scene as well as anyone, and in this work tells the story of Cumann na mBan , the women who supported the losing side, the sinking side, and of Norah O'Donovan from a Free Stater family who loved Barney Parle a Republican partisan and of his sister Peg Parle in love with Dan O'Donovan and the tragic - never melodramatic - consequences. And in a more recent incarnation, we learn of Jo Devereux's love for Rory O'Donovan, made impossible by the opposing loyalties of their ancestors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The book opens as Jo Devereux arrives in a little village in Ireland for her mother's funeral. She hasn't been back for 20 years and the internal conflict Jo faces mark the start of this saga than spans generations. This is a beautifully written story that will draw you in and make you desperate for the sequel.

Why read this book?

* You want to know Jo's story as the setting flicks from her years growing up in Mucknamore, her doomed love for Rory and her escape from the claustrophobic Irish village. Jo's need for independence resonated with me and her anguish in the present timeframe makes for compelling reading.

* There are mysteries in the book, open loops in the lives of the players that fascinate and make you read on.

* I'm not Irish and my knowledge of Ireland's civil war is practically non-existent. This is, in part, a historical novel about a time in Ireland that few speak of so it was fascinating to read more about it from the perspectives of the characters involved. I also appreciated the effective use of language which is accessible to non-Irish readers but still gives a lovely cadence to the read. The dialogue is expertly done.

Recommended if you enjoy contemporary fiction with a historical thread.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but needs some proper editing January 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There was a lot to like about this book. I agree with most of the other commenters in terms of the author's skillfullness in transitioning from one time period to another. But I would highly encourage a more careful editing. There are quite a few typos throughout the book, and small incongruencies where it appears edits were made and transitions not fixed, creating illogical paragraphs(Example, end of Chapter 15: Now as I run, one of those disconnected phrases comes rising in my mind. Did it say what I now think it said? Or am I imposing a meaning? Before knowing, I am out of bed, rustling through the pages, trying to find the paragraph...). I thought she was just running-now she is getting out of bed?
I am admittedly reluctant to recommend to others simply because of these kind of errors that I find annoying (Another example: The character Nora/Norah--the spelling changes throughout the book). But I will say that with a good copy editor, this book could become one of my all-time favorites. She is a gifted story teller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read January 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wish I had more history on the IRA previous to reading this book. However, I did enjoy the stories of each character.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic in the making. December 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I've just finished After The Rising and I have to say I think it's one of the best novels I have read in a long, long time. It is based around three time periods: The early 1920's during Ireland's civil war, the 'present' day in 1995 as told by the protagonist Jo, and a middle period detailing Jo's childhood - telling her story until it caught up with 1995.

Normally I don't really like books which flip time zones like this, but Orna Ross does this so skillfully that it worked really well, and I didn't mind at all. She cleverly had me so interested in Jo's story, and in the story of the people in the 1920's. And the people in the 1920's were Jo's grandparents/aunts etc, so the events of 1920 had a direct impact on Jo's modern-day life.

I could only admire the extremely skilfull (I have to keep using that word) way the author gradually fed us the information ... just enough to keep us interested without overwhelming us, adding up to our understanding of the whole complicated story. As a writer I could appreciate the skill to introduce the information at just the right time and in the right way.

I also thought that Orna Ross's writing was only superb. It was lyrical, poetic almost. To keep to such a standard of writing for such a long work is a true triumph.

The scope of the work was very brave - an examination of the events of the Civil War. I didn't realise until Orna has one of the characters say how much our history glosses over those events, but it's true. I have heard all about both my grandmothers' role in the Rising (small, but proudly held), but nothing about what they did in the Civil War, or even which viewpoint they held. It's like a scar in our quite recent history, and Orna has bravely pointed to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and memorable novel about the impact of Ireland's troubled...
This beautifully written literary novel describes the impact of the 1916 Irish Rising against British rule in a complex plot across several time frames. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Debbie Young
5.0 out of 5 stars The never ending war for independence.
This is a powerful book for women and what they did in the midst of a civil war in Ireland. Told from the point of view of women and the part they took in the war against England... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lindah
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a good story but I had trouble keeping track of the ...
It was a good story but I had trouble keeping track of the characters.Perhaps the sequel will not be as difficult for me.
Published 7 months ago by Robert M. Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Flowing and Expressive
This novel was Orna Ross's début, originally published with the sequel as 'Lovers' Hollow' by Penguin in 2006. The title has recently been reissued by the author. Read more
Published 9 months ago by LindyLouMac
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic and Beautifully Written
A fantastic book and I'm not sure where to start. Beautifully descriptive and emotive prose colour this book, as do rich characters whom you end knowing as well as your own family,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sharon Joan-Figuerola
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Historical Drama
I don't usually read dramas, but this one caught me so easily... I slipped into it like quicksand (pun intended) and was halfway through before I remembered: I don't read drama. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Karen Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A multi-generational story for our time
After the Rising is a part coming of age story, part historical novel, dealing as it does with the Irish Civil War in the 1920s. Read more
Published 20 months ago by turnerpage
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
I loved the Irish history and intertwining story-lines! I look forward to reading the next installments. Thanks for a great read.
Published 23 months ago by Stephanie Sjoberg
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked it more than I expected, but, not enough
First, writing was good: Usually, neither too little, nor too much, descriptive detail of surroundings. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Being Practical
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the final book.
I have spent some time in Ireland.The legends, factual accounts or fictionalized version of the "Troubles."
is often confusing and hard to understand. Ms. Read more
Published 24 months ago by belmont bet
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More About the Author

Orna Ross writes novels, poems and the Go Creative! books and has been described as "one of the 100 most influential people in publishing" (The Bookseller) for her work with The Alliance of Independent Authors, an association of the world's best self-publishing authors and advisors. Born and raised in Wexford in the south-east of Ireland, she now lives in London. Her website is -- where you can sign up for her "Go Creative!" newsletter.

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"My NOVELS usually take the form of family-based dramas. Often they are historical fiction and usually there's a murder mystery or other buried secret from the past causing chaos in the present. I enjoy writing emotional twists and surprises around big themes -- identity, family loyalty, truth, the struggle between freedom and belonging, men and women, murder and procreation.

My POEMS are simple and accessible and tend towards the inspirational. I think everyone should read a poem a day (keep a poetry book in the bathroom!).

My NONFICTION is about applying the creative process to things in life that are not usually considered creative -- money, relationships, work. The same process that makes a novel makes everything. We've all been educated to neglect our creative capacities -- a big mistake, as the Creative Age overtakes the Information Age. Thankfully, creative skill is like any other muscle, you strengthen it by flexing it. Use it or lose it. The 'Go Creative!' books show the way.


#1: HISTORY: I agree with Mr Hartley that the past is, indeed, another country and it's my favourite place to travel. I'm especially drawn to writing about bohemian times and places where shackles are thrown off and creativity flourishes -- fin de siecle Paris (1890s); literary revival and revolutionary Ireland (1910/20s); hippy (1960s) and gay lib (1980s) California.

#2: GENDER: We are all seeded by man and born of woman and we all embody 'male' and 'female' characteristics and dimensions. How these play out, in an individual life, and in different societies, is endlessly fascinating to me.

#3: IRELAND: Ireland is a strong influence. Because so many millions have emigrated from there, its stories reach far beyond its shores. There is always a particular flavour to Irish writing that readers tell me they experience in my books too.

#4: THE SEA: Everything I really needed to know, I could have learned by watching the waves.

#5: THE SPACE BETWEEN THE WORDS. About which the less said, the better.

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