In the Forest by Edna O'Brien
A Novel

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Synopsis

IN THE FOREST returns to the countryside of western Ireland, the vivid backdrop of Edna O'Brien's previous novel, WILD DECEMBERS. Murder is again the story's climax, but the killer's motives are deeply buried in his psychoses rather than triggered by exterior conflict. Michen O'Kane loses his mother as a boy and by the age of ten is incarcerated for petty crimes in juvenile detention centers, "the places named after the saints." But his problems go beyond early loss and abuse - the killing instinct is already kindled in him. He is christened by fearful neighbors "the Kinderschreck," meaning someone of whom small children are afraid. As in Greek tragedy, there are unwitting victims for sacrifice in the Kinderschreck's world - a radiant young woman, her little son, and a devout and trusting priest, all dispatched to the forest of O'Kane's unbridled, deranged fantasies.
Taken from a true story, Edna O'Brien's riveting, frightening, and brilliantly told new novel reminds us that anything can happen "outside the boundary of mother and child," where protection isn't afforded. The villagers of IN THE FOREST see "one of their own sons, come out of their own soil, their own flesh and blood, gone amok." It is an intimate portrayal of both perpetrator and victims - a story that is old, and current, and everywhere.
 

About Edna O'Brien

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Writer Edna O'Brien was born in Clare County, Ireland, in 1936 and attended Pharmaceutical College in Dublin. O'Brien, winner of the Kingsley Amis Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Price and the European Literature Prize, has written short stories, novels, plays, television plays and screenplays. She has also written for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal and The New Yorker.
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 224 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Self Help, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for In the Forest

Kirkus Reviews

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The climax of his story is a triple murder that he commits in a deserted forest, but this is described obliquely, in the manner of a Greek tragedy, according to the testimony of the victims as well as of Michen himself and various witnesses and bystanders.

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The Guardian

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In the Forest Edna O'Brien Weidenfeld & Nicholson £16.99, pp217 Edna O'Brien's early novels were greeted by two sounds - murmurs of approval and the crackle of flames.

Apr 28 2002 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

The Guardian

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In the Forest Edna O'Brien 208pp, Weidenfeld, £16.99 A friend tells this story about Edna O'Brien;

May 04 2002 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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From an early age, O'Kane displays spontaneous unsociability, for which he is punished with unremitting cruelty, first by his wife-beating father, then by the villagers of Cloosh, his small Irish village, and then by the Irish juvenile detention system, where he is sodomized and psychologically t...

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Star Tribune

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And so Michen is able to abduct Eiley and her son in broad daylight and drive through town with them, and nobody says a word.

Mar 16 2002 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

Book Reporter

He kills Eily and he kills Maddy too, for what, in Mich O'Kane's view, is a boy without his mother?

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

B+ Originally posted Apr 05, 2002 Published in issue #647 Apr 05, 2002 Order article reprints

Apr 05 2002 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

Scotsman.com

His first experience of abuse, his near-redemption with an adoptive family, his killing of a litter of kittens and the chilling forecast of the psychologist who foretells "this child could kill" are all given O’Brien’s attention.

May 05 2002 | Read Full Review of In the Forest: A Novel

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