ASHES OF FIERY WEATHER

A Novel

Kathleen Donohue

A debut novel about the passionate loves and tragic losses of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, spanning from famine-era Ireland to Brooklyn a decade after 9/11

“There isn’t anything in the world that hurts like a burn.” No one knows the pain of a fire more than the women of the Keegan/O’Reilly clan. Kathleen Donohoe’s stunning debut novel brings to life seven unsentimental, wry, and evocative portraits of women from a family of firefighters.

When we meet Norah — the first member of her family to move from Ireland to New York — she is a mother of three,

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A debut novel about the passionate loves and tragic losses of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, spanning from famine-era Ireland to Brooklyn a decade after 9/11

“There isn’t anything in the world that hurts like a burn.” No one knows the pain of a fire more than the women of the Keegan/O’Reilly clan. Kathleen Donohoe’s stunning debut novel brings to life seven unsentimental, wry, and evocative portraits of women from a family of firefighters.

When we meet Norah — the first member of her family to move from Ireland to New York — she is a mother of three, contemplating her husband’s casket as his men give him a full fireman’s funeral, and faced with a terrible choice. Norah’s mother-in-law, Delia, is stoic and self-preserving. Her early losses have made her keep her children close and her secrets closer. Eileen, Delia’s daughter, adopted from Ireland and tough-as-nails, yet desperate for a sense of belonging, is one of the first women firefighters in New York. It is through her eyes that we experience 9/11, blindsided by the events of that terrible day along with her.

Poignant, wise, and immersive, Ashes of Fiery Weather is a tour de force in the tradition of Let the Great World Spin, one that explores the emotional wounds and ultimate resilience of those drawn to fire, as well as the many ways we search for each other, and the many ways we hope to be rescued.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Paperback
  • August 2016
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780544464056

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$14.99

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About Kathleen Donohue

Kathleen Donohoe was raised in Brooklyn in a family of Irish immigrant firefighters. She has published short stories in several literary magazines and currently serves on the Board of Irish American Writers & Artists. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. This is her first novel.

Praise

One of Brooklyn Magazine’s “100 Books to Read for the Rest of 2016”

One of BookRiot’s “100 Must-Read New York City Novels”

“Her characters navigate turbulent historical events, including the Irish potato famine and the devastation of 9/11, and Donohoe vividly brings each period to life. But the novel’s special strength lies in the quiet moments between characters: intimate exchanges and daily decisions that often ignite far-reaching changes in their lives. Family, love and legacy are complicated entities, and Donohoe skillfully portrays her protagonists’ struggle with each.”— Shelf Awareness

“What makes Donohoe’s novel stand out from other family sagas is the authentic insight she brings to her work. . . The crowning achievement of the book, however, is Donohoe’s unaffected and chilling portrayal of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Although readers will know what is coming, this does nothing to dim the force and shock of Donohoe’s depiction, told through the eyes of Eileen, one of the many firefighters on-site that day. . . . Donohoe has created an emotional, deeply moving work that will stay with readers long after the last page.”— Bookpage

“Explosive [and] expansive… There is a great deal of world and family history behind each individual’s actions. . . . It’s hard to imagine this expansive, accessible book won’t find its audience, especially since it’s coming out on the eve of the fifteenth anniversary of 9-11. The writing is at times beautifully spare, and Donohoe has a knack for capturing heartbreaking moments with a gripping simplicity.” — The Village Voice