Night Driving , with an ambitious epic that follows a hapless wee lad from the rotten potato fields of 184"/>
 

The Law of Dreams

Peter Behrens, Author
Peter Behrens, Author . Steerforth $26.95 (394p) ISBN 978-1-58642-117-5
Reviewed on: 05/22/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006

Screenwriter Behrens follows his 1987 story collection, Night Driving , with an ambitious epic that follows a hapless wee lad from the rotten potato fields of 1847 Ireland to a New England horse ranch. Fergus O'Brien, the teenage son of a tenant farmer, is sent to a workhouse after his parents are murdered. He quickly escapes, joins a band of brigands and, after raiding his former landlord's farm, drifts to Dublin and then to Liverpool, where he is primed to work as a "pearl boy" (read: male prostitute). He hits the road again, this time settling in Wales, where he works on a rail line and meets Red Molly, a married woman who becomes his lover and traveling companion to America, where he plans to become a horse trader. The book veers dangerously close to melodrama on more than a few occasions, and Fergus, for all the contretemps encountered and indignities suffered, remains thin and unconvincing as a narrator. But readers may be able to overlook Behrens's authorial missteps and enjoy the sprawling, cinematically rendered immigrant story. (Sept.)

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