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Dead Bird in the Weeds: A Seamróg Tale of Rebellion Paperback – June 3, 2009
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About the Author
Upon the discovery of a manual typewriter at the age of seven, J.E. Seanachaí began writing and never stopped. Now, decades later, Seanachaí's first novel, DEAD BIRD IN THE WEEDS, is one of Sunflower Footsteps' launch titles. The author's own Irish heritage and avid interest in history, folklore, and nature have lent to this novel that explores not only rebellion but also betrayal, courage, and self-worth. The author's latest books include: HAUNTED VOICES FROM MY PAST: TRUE NARRATIVES OF AN OHIO FAMILY, a collection of true family stories delving into the supernatural and macabre, and NONESSENTIAL: THE EXPANSION PARADOX, a chilling work of science fiction that negates the past and challenges the future. For more information, visit Sunflower Footsteps at www.sunflowerfootsteps.com.
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It is difficult to imagine that there is a nation or people on Earth that has not been both conquered and conqueror in its time. In the spring of 1798, the common folk of Ireland, long the conquered, threw off the yoke of British oppression and became, for a time, the conqueror.
This war for independence, like all wars of all times, was fought not by nations, but by people, by men and women and children whose lives, win lose or draw, are changed forever by the battles they fight.
DEAD BIRD IN THE WEEDS, the debut novel of J.E. Seanachaí, is not a novel of war, although it follows its characters through a tragic and bloody revolution. This is a novel of people, of life and love, of fear and hatred, of time and the inevitable and irreversible change that every moment brings with it. The people whose stories are told in Dead Bird in the Weeds are irrevocably changed by their months in the battlefields, and this change is clearly rung throughout the book by the periodic changes in their names. When I saw the note in the front of the book warning me that this would happen, I was afraid it would be confusing, unnecessary, perhaps even just a little coy, and yet when Anastasia became Muirghein, it was so thoroughly mandated by the story that it was as simple and as natural as turning the next page, as though I had turned a page in the life of a girl named Anastasia and found, on the next page, a young woman named Muirghein. Later, when Muirghein becomes Aisling, the change is even more powerfully right.
I'm not going to pretend that this is a perfect novel. It isn't, and no novel ever will be. At times, I found the diction to be irregular and confusing, and there were scenes that didn't seem to fit the storyline. Even as long as this novel is (nearly 180,000 words), there were parts that were summarized that I felt should have been done as scenes.
Make no mistake, though: J.E. Seanachaí is a skilled and competent writer who, at her best, reaches excellence.
DEAD BIRD IN THE WEEDS is a strong first novel, a gripping and compelling read from an author I hope to hear a lot more from over the coming years.