Angela's Ashes A Memoir (Paperback)
|Author: Frank McCourt|
|Frank McCourt returned to America when he was nineteen. For many years, he was an English teacher at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. The sequel to "Angela''s Ashes, ''Tis, " will be published in the fall of 1999. McCourt lives in Connecticut.|
From the Publisher:
"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.
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.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
After years of teaching creative writing, Frank McCourt published his first book, thus obliging his many friends who had been urging him to write about his childhood--a subject they knew from the many uproarious and affecting stories he told about it. ANGELA'S ASHES traces the tortuous path of his life from his days in abysmal poverty in Limerick, Ireland, to his arrival in New York as a teenager, eager to start a new life.
"...[W]hat is most remarkable is that he has managed to reenter his boyhood self so completely, while maintaining a quiet, sardonic, authorial distance from his early life, which gives ANGELA'S ASHES its rigor and power. Whatever scars McCourt bears from his childhood, they are not exorcised here. Only someone who has successfully battled with his demons could have crafted such a compelling work of art out of his own pain." - Mary M. Morrissey 09/29/1996 Boston Globe
"Unguarded and stunningly unpretentious, ANGELA'S ASHES creeps up on you with all the ghostlike force of a winter afternoon in Ireland....A story so immediate--so gripping in its daily despairs, stolen smokes, and blessed humor--that you want to thank God young Frankie McCourt survived it in part so he could write the book." - Gail Caldwell New York Times
"Frank McCourt...waited more than four decades to tell the story of his childhood, and it's been well worth the wait. With ANGELA'S ASHES he has used the storytelling gifts he inherited from his father to write a book that redeems the pain of his early years with wit and compassion and grace. He has written a book that stands...as a classic modern memoir." - Michiko Kakutani 09/17/1996 New York Times Book Review
"For the most part, his style is that of an Irish-American raconteur, honorably voluble and engaging. He is aware of his charm but doesn't disgracefully linger upon it. Induced by potent circumstances, he has told his story, and memorable it is." - Denis Donoghue 09/15/1996 Washington Post Book World
"The most gloriously unwholesome memoir of the year has to be ANGELA'S ASHES. The tale of an Irish childhood blighted by poverty, drink, violence, panic and despair and blessed by an author with a huge sense of the ridiculous plus the ability to forgive everyone, even himself. Give 'Angela' to anyone who loves a roaring story in language so fresh it sometimes comes as a shock to the system." - Rebecca Pepper Sinkler 11/24/1996