Angela's Ashes : A Memoir
Baker & Taylor
The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies
A beautifully written memoir full of Irish wit and pathos, making it stand out among the garden variety of youthful reminisces. Let's face it, a bad childhood is more interesting and McCourt had it in spades. He was born in Brooklyn, but his family went back to Ireland where he grew up on the dole exacerbated by alcoholism (his father's), near starvation, beatings by the schoolmasters, and a brief respite in clinic where he discovered Shakespeare. All of this would be merely stereotype in less capable hands, but McCourt's mastery of language manages to make us understand the gentleness, forgiveness, and humor that accompanies misery and enables its protagonists to survive with dignity. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Blackwell North Amer
Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy-- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling-- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors--yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies. 40,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo. First serial, The New Yorker.
New York : Scribner, c1996
364 p. : ill ; 25 cm