“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 asense of belonging is one of the first women firefighters in New York, and 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.
Kathleen Donohoe was raised in Brooklyn in a family of Irish imimigrant firefighters. She has published short stories in several literary magazines and currently serves on the Board of Irish American Writers & Artists. She is currently working on her second novel.