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About the Book

About the Book

The Flaming Corsage

The Flaming Corsage begins with the "Love Nest Killings of 1908." From this dramatic, bloody scene in a Manhattan hotel room, Kennedy moves his plotline both forward and backward, the events ranging from 1884 to 1912. Eventually, and ever so deliberately, much of the truth about the love nest killings will be revealed. Surprises are in store.

At the heart of the novel are two characters who will be somewhat familiar to Kennedy readers: the Irish American playwright Edward Daugherty and his wife, the upper-class Protestant Katrina Taylor Daugherty. Edward woos the enchanting and mysterious Katrina and she seems to reciprocate his love; however, a catastrophic fire changes everything for the young married couple, as Katrina loses part of her family and is irreparably scarred by "the flaming corsage."

The development of Edward's play writing career coincides with Katrina's increasing withdrawal from the world of reality. Their lives become more and more complicated as mutual adulteries surface; Edward's with a voluptuous actress and Katrina's with the young Francis Phelan.

Ever present is Kennedy's Albany; the details of the old Irish North End, where Emmett Daugherty receives his church's last rites, and the elegant Elk Street, where the imposing and austere Taylor mansion stands. But The Flaming Corsage also portrays some more unsavory parts of town, depicted with acute precision in venues like the red-light tents of the State Fair.

The Flaming Corsage
by William Kennedy

  • Publication Date: April 1, 1997
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0140242708
  • ISBN-13: 9780140242706