- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Books USA; Limited Ed edition (October 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099497050
- ISBN-13: 978-0099497059
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,840,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – International Edition, October 1, 2006
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Set in the time of The Great Famine in Ireland, it tells the story of those individuals aboard the Star Of The Sea as they travel towards The Promised Land of America.
The hardships and tragedy endured by the Irish during this time has been well documented but O'Connor weaves a tantalising tale around a handful of characters aboard this creaky, rat infested tub, and the horrors that ensue on their four week laborious journey.
The conditions in steerage are all the more terrible when compared with the relative luxury of "first class" and interweaved with the general day to day activities on board are undercurrents of violence with the added tension of a "murderer" and "would be assassin" in their midst.
None of the characters are truly appealing although Mary Duane conjures up much empathy.
The Captain is delightful and I particularly enjoyed his "entries". A man of good heart who simply does the best he can to land his ship and all aboard safely to it's safe harbour.
Pius Mulvey is a great character and one has mixed feelings about this unfortunate man. Perhaps he is simply a product of his unfortunate and awful life. I loved the fact that Mulvey furnishes Dickens" with the story of "Oliver Twist". Very funny!
Although a sinister undertone runs through this story there were times I laughed out loud.
Joseph O'Connor has written a great yarn and I will seek other books by this writer......and recommend Star Of The Sea!
"It takes place on a famine ship and involves the stories and the back stories of the passengers. Very Irish at the root, it is not a feel good book and will not end with a 'happily ever after.' " Hope that line does not spoil it for any of you but I highly recommend this book. It combines history with fiction.