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The Past

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


On June 1st, 1914, Una O’Shaughnessy sends a postcard home from a Cornish seaside town. Back in two weeks, she promises. But seven months later, she still has not returned to Ireland, and she sends another postcard, this one signed Una, Michael, Rene (!).

The Past is the story of Rene, this unexpected child, as told by her own child as he searches for the truth about his parents’ mysterious and romantic history. Through the reminiscences of his mother's friend, the pieces of the past begin to fit together into a delicate mosaic of the truth. What really happened in that seaside town? Why does the past seem to hold so many secrets?

Set over twenty-five years, travelling from Cornwall to Dublin and the Irish Provinces, The Past is a beautiful novel of love and longing, created by one of the preeminent artists of our time.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 12, 2012 – The out-of-print debut, originally published in 1980, of novelist (Night in Tunisia) and film director (The Crying Game) Jordan is an elegiac remembrance of two larger-than-life Irish women set in the early decades of the last century. In 1914, mediocre actress Una O Shaughnessy leaves Ireland for a short vacation in England; in fact, Una is pregnant, and when she returns months later, it s after a hasty marriage and with a beautiful baby girl, Rene. Her husband, Michael, dies in the Irish revolution, and as Una enters middle age, she settles into a new role as patriotic widow and stage mother while Rene becomes a model and actress in her own right, fatefully attracting the attention of two men, well-to-do photographer James Vance and his much younger son, Luke. Jordan skillfully evokes a sense of the past coming in and out of focus, presenting the story s events as reconstructions by the son Rene eventually bears, interspersed with an elderly family friend s memories as well. After a strong first half involving revolutionary tumult, the novel suffers somewhat as it shifts focus from Una to Rene and recedes into character study. While this first novel has some drawbacks in plotting, it s often an exceptional exercise in style.
The Past
View in iTunes
  • $15.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jan 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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