The Law of Dreams

The Law of Dreams

A Novel

Book - 2006
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The Law of Dreams tells the story of a young man's epic passage from innocence to experience during The Great Famine in Ireland of 1847. On his odyssey through Ireland and Britain, and across the Atlantic to the Boston states, Fergus is initiated to violence, sexual heat, and the glories and dangers of the industrial revolution. Along the way, he meets an unforgettable generation of boy soldiers, brigands, street toughs and charming, willful girls - all struggling for survival in the aftermath of natural catastrophe magnified by political callousness and brutal neglect. Peter Behrens transports the reader to another time and place for a deeply-moving and resonant experience. The Law of Dreams is gorgeously written in incandescent language that unleashes the sexual and psychological energies of a lost world while plunging the reader directly into a vein of history that haunts the ancestral memory of millions in a new millennium.
Publisher: Steerforth Press, 2006
ISBN: 9781586421175
Branch Call Number: AF BEHR


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Nov 05, 2012

Something about historical struggles with abject poverty, cacophony, survival and sufferings of defeat just seem to churn out page turners. Peter Behrens with this his first full length novel, is definitely one of those authors that can do that for you.
Winner of the Governor General’s Award, this narrative brings us back to the 1840’s amongst Ireland’s devastating potato famine. One and a half million people perished throughout this little known crisis whereas survival and starvation were the only two elements which carried the day.
Our main character is a young Fergus O’Brien who has grown up only knowing poverty within a family working and living on a potato farm. The farm is owned by one of only a handful of potato farmers who were the only equivalence in old Ireland, of people who could be ‘misconstrued’ as wealthy. After the ‘ejection’ Fergus winds his survival through such incredible difficult and diverse conditions, they will surprise you.
As a result of the mold which spreads like wildfire throughout Ireland producing worthless ‘black’ potatoes, the Great Famine takes a foothold in 1847. The farmers have had to eject their workers from the small parcels of land they have allotted them to live and work. As a result much homeless, lawless, desperation and death ensue on a massive scale.
Albeit a sorry history, it certainly makes for one hell of a good read. ‘The Law of Dreams’ was followed up with Peter Behrens ‘The O’Brien’s’ © 2011, which was an even superior page turner following the same themes and family saga.
By John Archibald, November, 2012

BrigidScott Jan 17, 2012

A good Summer read - one of those multi-generational sagas.

Oct 15, 2011

Ireland...mid 1800's
Famine...heavy topic

Jun 21, 2010

Somewhat interesting. The journey of the young man revealed conditions that many Irish immigrants faced during the potato famine, the social conditions of the time, and being in the right place at the right time - luck of the Irish?

anpa Sep 21, 2009

This novel was rather episodic, so if you like that, you may like this. The narrative was interesting yet the character fairly simpistic. I also found the ending somewhat incomplete, like the book stopped in the middle, but because I wasn't so attached to the character, it didn't bother me all that much.

Oct 15, 2008

Great quest novel!

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