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A hauntingly affecting tale of the loves and losses of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, spanning from famine era-Ireland to Brooklyn a decade after 9/11.

Katie Rourke-McKenna is nine when her mother is killed in the World Trade Center. Being adopted makes her different than most children of 9/11: the mother she’s loved her whole life is gone; still in the world is the one she’s never met. Katie doesn’t know her biological family, but in stories that focus on mothers, daughters, wives, we meet them all and watch them grapple with the role of living with those who face down danger most of us are lucky never to encounter at the ring of a bell. Suffering the untimely deaths of fathers, husbands, brothers, dealing with unwanted—and fervently longed for—pregnancies, coming to grips with their sexuality—their problems are universal, yet uniquely told. Each woman plays a role in the others’ narratives as the novel explores how the inner lives of women are bequeathed down through the generations. When Katie is nineteen, she decides it is time to find her birth mother, and her search draws the narratives together into one riveting whole.

Poignant, wise, and filled with the emotional wounds and ultimate resilience of six generations of women connected in the most intimate way to the dangers of fire, THE ASHES OF FIERY WEATHER is a tour de force in the tradition of Let the Great World Spin with the sensibilities of Alice McDermott.

Kathleen Donohoe grew up in Brooklyn; there are six New York City firefighters in her family. Her fiction has been published in SNReview, Web Conjunctions, Hampton Shorts, Harpur Palate, Washington Square, New York Stories and The Recorder: Journal of the American Irish Historical Society. She serves on the board of Irish American Writers & Artists and is a regular participant in IAW&A’s bimonthly reading series. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and young son and is currently at work on her second novel. 


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Piotr Wawrzeńczyk