By Peter Behrens
Pantheon, $25.95, 384 pages
The O’Briens showcases what an epic family story should look like. The story focuses on Joe O’Brien, grandson of an Irish immigrant. His story begins in the wilds of Canada at the turn of the 20th century, taking care of his mother and four siblings. After her passing, the siblings disperse across the country and Joe finds his way to Venice, California. There he meets Iseult, and the highs and lows of their relationship unfold.
It is not often a book can be described as having no flaws, but The O’Briens is one of those books. Every page leads the reader, making them want to continue seeing what happens. The characters are so believable the reader is instantly attracted to them and cares about what happens. Joe’s story is not so much a work of fiction as it is a window into the thoughts and actions of people in the early 1900’s.
This book has countless positives making it a must read title, but its greatest asset is how author Peter Behrens captures the mournful tone of Irish literature. This is a book worth reading not just for an inspiring glimpse at immigrant life, but because of how true Behrens portrays humanity.
Reviewed by Andrew Keyser