Galway Bay

Galway Bay

4.3 48
by Mary Pat Kelly
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and…  See more details below

Overview

Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this scattered retelling of her own family's struggles during the Great Irish Starvation, Kelly captures the suffering but neglects the inner lives of her thinly drawn characters. In Bearna, Ireland, in 1839, Honora Keeley falls in love with Michael Kelly after finding him swimming in Galway Bay, and they soon marry despite her father's objections. For a short time, life, while far from perfect, is sweet. Then comes the blight, destroying most of their potato crop. After losing the harvest for the third time in four years, the Kellys flee to America and settle in Chicago. Though the research is meticulous and the famine horrors are catalogued in great detail, the Kellys' lives in America are presented haphazardly, making it difficult to keep track of the huge cast of characters when decades are skipped seemingly at random. The characters themselves function more as types-greedy landlords, arrogant Englishmen-to further the plot. Despite its flaws, the novel may appeal to fans of Frank McCourt and Irish history, as the trials of the Kelly family echo the struggle of the Irish to assimilate while retaining their own heritage. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In 1839, Honora Keeley, days away from entering a convent, meets the love of her life on the bank of a river in Connemara. Blissfully unaware that the famine is rapidly approaching, Honora and Michael marry and begin their family amid the poverty of the Irish countryside. Basing this sweeping Irish family saga upon the experiences of her own family, documentary producer and journalist Kelly (Special Intentions) follows Honora and her family from Galway to Chicago, escaping starvation in search of Michael's brother Patrick. Reminiscent of Frank Delaney's Ireland, this novel focuses on the resilience and determination of the two million people who fled a callous government with nothing but hope from the perspective of Honora, her sister Maire, and their children. This readable and highly personal novel of the Irish experience is an excellent addition to the already rich collection of Irish historical fiction. Highly recommended.
—Susan Clifford Braun

Kirkus Reviews
Historically accurate epic of the Irish potato famine veers into gothic romance territory but keeps its eye on the Fenian prize. Honora Keeley is swollen with pride, if nervous, to have been accepted to "the first convent allowed to open in Galway City since Cromwell." She's a sweet 17-year-old, not quite innocent enough not to know what's happening when she first lays eyes on Michael Kelly-or rather, "the maleness of him-growing before my very eyes." But Galway is no place for tender young lovers, especially not Catholic ones, when times are so hard and the Protestant masters of Ireland so cruelly bent. As long as we have "pratties" (potatoes), our heroes reason, nothing can happen to us. But then the pratties take ill, and after resisting the bad-guy landlords to no avail the young wild geese of Galway Bay take flight. They wind up in Chicago, there to become the tribe of the lace curtains. Kelly (Special Intentions, 1998, etc.) writes with deep but lightly worn understanding of Irish history and its complex strains: Celtic, Norman, Saxon, Catholic and, yes, Protestant. She evinces and elicits sympathy for people caught up in forces well beyond their control, and for those who aim to take control and change bad situations, such as the transplanted rebels who have it in mind to travel up to Canada to whip up an insurrection against the British. The pace is a bit too leisurely, each scene lasting a few beats too long, but Kelly delivers a story whose end grows from its beginning, and whose middle has plenty to keep readers occupied. A satisfying tale, with few surprises for those who know the territory, but no false steps.
Booklist
"A vividly lavish historical novel. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience."
Bancroft-Prize-winning author and Columbia Univers --Eric Foner
"In this engaging novel, Mary Pat Kelly brings to life a critical era of Irish-American life, illuminating a part of our history that remains too little known."
Co-Founder of IRISH AMERICA MAGAZINE --Patricia Harty
"GALWAY BAY" is a wonderful story of triumph against the odds. It's the story of the Irish in America: what they gave and what was given, the things they lost and what was never lost--humor and faith and a strong belief that tomorrow would be a better day. Kelly's knowledge of Ireland and Irish-American history is awesome."
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of ANGELA'S ASHES --Frank McCourt
"After reading her novel, Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about 19th century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it's her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, 'Take your ease with this book.' You'll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic."
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of ANGELA'S ASHES Frank McCourt
"After reading her novel, Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about 19th century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it's her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, 'Take your ease with this book.' You'll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic."
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of ANGELA'S ASHES —Frank McCourt
"After reading her novel, Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about 19th century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it's her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, 'Take your ease with this book.' You'll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic."
bestselling author of MEN AND ANGELS —Mary Gordon
Mary Pat Kelly's GALWAY BAY combines two traditional Irish gifts—the gift of hypnotic storytelling, and the gift of rich poetic language. It enables us to see the Irish, and Irish-American experience, in a way we would never have imagined."
Co-Founder of IRISH AMERICA MAGAZINE —Patricia Harty
"GALWAY BAY" is a wonderful story of triumph against the odds. It's the story of the Irish in America: what they gave and what was given, the things they lost and what was never lost—humor and faith and a strong belief that tomorrow would be a better day. Kelly's knowledge of Ireland and Irish-American history is awesome."
American-Book-Award-winning author of BANISHED CHI —Peter Quinn
"GALWAY BAY is a lyrical mix of history, romance and riveting narrative. A wonderfully rich, rousing, engaging tale of Irish survival and triumph, it brings enlightenment as well as enjoyment. Mary Pat Kelly's prowess as a storyteller enlivens every page."
Bancroft-Prize-winning author and Columbia Univers —Eric Foner
"In this engaging novel, Mary Pat Kelly brings to life a critical era of Irish-American life, illuminating a part of our history that remains too little known."
bestselling author of MEN AND ANGELS --Mary Gordon
Mary Pat Kelly's GALWAY BAY combines two traditional Irish gifts--the gift of hypnotic storytelling, and the gift of rich poetic language. It enables us to see the Irish, and Irish-American experience, in a way we would never have imagined."
American-Book-Award-winning author of BANISHED CHI --Peter Quinn
"GALWAY BAY is a lyrical mix of history, romance and riveting narrative. A wonderfully rich, rousing, engaging tale of Irish survival and triumph, it brings enlightenment as well as enjoyment. Mary Pat Kelly's prowess as a storyteller enlivens every page."
From the Publisher
"A vividly lavish historical novel. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience."—Booklist

"[Will] appeal to fans of Frank McCourt and Irish History."—Publishers Weekly

"After reading her novel, Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about 19th century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it's her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, 'Take your ease with this book.' You'll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic."—Frank McCourt, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of ANGELA'S ASHES

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446545075
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
02/09/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
40,897
File size:
666 KB

Meet the Author

Mary Patricia Kelly is the author of a novel Special Intentions, and nonfiction on subjects as varied as Martin Scorsese and the rescue of Scott O'Grady from Bosnia. In her life, she has been everything from a nun to a documentary filmmaker to a producer of short films for "Saturday Night Live". She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >