Wild Decembers

  • by Edna O'Brien
  • Narrated by Suzanne Bertish
  • 7 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Edna O'Brien's masterly novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler, "the warring sons of warring sons", in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister Breege's love for both him and his rival, Bugler. Breege sees "the wrong of years and the recent wrongs" fuel each other as Bugler comes to claim recently inherited acreage on what her brother calls "my mountain." A classic drama ensues, involving the full range of human bonds and betrayals and leavened by the human comedy of which Edna O'Brien rarely loses sight. A dinner dance in the local village and the seduction of Mick Bugler by an eager pair of uninhibited sisters rival Joyce in their hectic exuberance. But as the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into the sense of foreboding in a place where "fields mean more than fields, more than life, and more than death too."


What the Critics Say

"The wild Irish humor and savage Irish melancholy that are both legend and stereotype receive exemplary treatment in this powerful novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"O'Brien's beautiful and lush novel Wild Decembers could be described as a fictional working out of the crippling Irish fears she describes." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A mood akin to that of Wuthering Heights, and indeed the spirit of Emily Bronte seems to hover over this novel." (Irish Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Why is Edna O'Brien so often neglected? Her use of language is so entrancing, her descriptions of place - particularly rural Ireland - so breathtakingly original and her characters - in situation - so memorable and illuminating. I think she should be near the top of any list of the world's greatest writers. As much as I love Cormac McCarthy, O'Brien's use of language is just as original - and she gives us tangible characters and a real community. This is one of her most beautiful creations
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- Kindle Customer

Bad sound quality, terrible pronunciations

I love this book, but I'm very disappointed in the audio version available on Audible. The sound quality is bad, and the editor left in several cues to switch CDs. The reader repeatedly makes a terrible hash of Irish words, and it threw me right out of the story each time. I understand that Irish is not widely spoken, but I think it's the responsibility of both the editor and the reader to study up before attempting a book with non-English vocabulary.
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- Lanea

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-18-2004
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company