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Angela's Ashes [Paperback]

Frank McCourt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 Oct 2005

Stunning reissue of the phenomenal worldwide bestseller: Frank McCourt's sad, funny, bittersweet memoir of growing up in New York in the 30s and in Ireland in the 40s.

It is a story of extreme hardship and suffering, in Brooklyn tenements and Limerick slums – too many children, too little money, his mother Angela barely coping as his father Malachy's drinking bouts constantly brings the family to the brink of disaster. It is a story of courage and survival against apparently overwhelming odds.

Written with the vitality and resonance of a work of fiction, and with a remarkable absence of sentimentality, ‘Angela’s Ashes’ is imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's distinctive humour and compassion. Out of terrible circumstances, he has created a glorious book in the tradition of Ireland's literary masters, which bears all the marks of a great classic.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (3 Oct 2005)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0007205236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007205233
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Welcome, then, to the pinnacle of the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Born in Brooklyn in 1930 to recent Irish immigrants Malachy and Angela McCourt, Frank grew up in Limerick after his parents returned to Ireland because of poor prospects in America. It turns out that prospects weren't so great back in the old country either--not with Malachy for a father. A chronically unemployed and nearly unemployable alcoholic, he appears to be the model on which many of our more insulting clichés about drunken Irish manhood are based. Mix in abject poverty, and frequent death and illness, and you have all the makings of a truly difficult early life. Fortunately, in McCourt's able hands it also has all the makings of a compelling memoir. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


‘’Angela's Ashes’ out Roddy Doyles Roddy Doyle. I was amazed by it.’ Margaret Forster, author of ‘Hidden Lives’

‘Once opened, this brilliant and seductive book will not let you rest until Frank emerges, more or less reared, at the close of boyhood.’ Thomas Keneally, author of ‘Schindler's List.’

‘Frank McCourt's lyrical Irish voice will draw comparison to Joyce. It's that seductive, that hilarious. In the annals of memoir, his name will be writ large.’ Mary Karr, author of ‘The Liar's Club’.

‘I was moved and dazzled by the sombre and lively beauty of this book; it is a story of survival and growth beyond all odds; a chronicle of surprising triumphs, written in language that is always itself triumphant.’ Mary Gordon, author of ‘The Shadow Man.’

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book on a real, tough childhood 19 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This is a great book. It is an absorbing narrative and the style of writing draws you in and leads you along in a manner so smooth and fluid that before you know where you are its 3 a.m. and you still don't want to put it down. The characters are memorable, there are great passages to make you laugh, and the use of language is engaging and true.
While reading this book I had to keep reminding myself that Frank McCourt is a real person, his family and friends were real people, this all really happened - and not so long ago. The subject matter at first glance may make you think it is going to be a depressing read - parts of it are, other parts are very funny. Certainly, you will experience a strong emotional response at how some people had to live at that time in Limerick (and other places), and despair at the consequences that can bring. But the overall impression I was left with is one of inspiration in the human spirit embodied in Frank McCourt who survived it all to record his early family life in this important social record, disguised as a wonderful book.
For those who complain today that they have had a "deprived childhood", and sometimes use this to justify why they are in some situation in their adult life ... I think they should read this book to know what "deprived" can really mean, and how ultimately you can make your own life with determination, persistence, and good humour, and that these qualities are available to all - even little kids in the back lanes of the poorest part of town.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable - a classic 27 July 2006
What more is there to say about Angela's Ashes?

When I bought the book I thought I must be just about the only person in the world not to have read it - and that's probably true. I had no idea what it was about or what to expect - I suppose I thought it was about some girl called Angela!

What I found instead was a truly moving, originally crafted and personal account of an extremely fascinating childhood in the face of extreme poverty and family troubles.

Frank McCourt is a young catholic boy growing up in Ireland during the second world war. His father is an alcoholic and the family are practically destitute, living in extremely grim conditions and surviving on charity handouts and the generosity of others.

Though Frank's father clearly loves his children he is unable to control his overpowering desire to drink away what little money the family has - literally leaving his wife and children on the verge of starvation awaiting his return at home.

The prose is written in a way which some might find difficult to read at first, but in fact this purposely `amateurish' style perfectly reflects the innocence of young Frank and serves to endear the reader even further to his plight. He is incredibly honest and allows the reader an insight into even the most personal and private aspects of his childhood.

Though the circumstances of the McCourt family life may sound incredibly depressing what emerges most strongly is the incredible positivity of young Frank to turn his life into something better. In the face of everything, he is able to find such joy when life so rarely turns in his favour and the sense of love and loyalty to his mother and brothers is truly touching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars there aren't enough tissues in the world... 9 Jun 2005
this book is astounding ! it is the most emotional, funny, tragic and moving book that i have ever read, and remains to be my favorite book of all time. i read an awful lot, and as frequent readers all know, when you put a book down with in 5-10 mins, your mind is elsewhere on your own life again. But Angela's ashes refused to exit my mind. it was so desperatley sad, i will agree with another reviewer, that i feel i could not possibly moan about any little flaw in my life after readin ghits.
beautifully written
you MUST read this
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joint favourite with The Hobbit 1 Jun 2004
This book is wonderful. I didnt know anything about this book before i began reading it, I read it because it was on my dads shelf and it said 'pultizer prize winner' on the cover. I began it, believing it was a work of fiction. One day while reading it, i discovered it was a memoir and I could not believe that the story was true. It is a story of suffering, and I feel it exentuates the idea that if you suffer badly in your life, you have two choices; you become a good person or you become a bad person. You can let misfortune warp you or shape you.
People sometimes take things too much on face value. Having experienced terrible things does not make you a better person, you choose your way out of misfortune. You choose the better or worse of the evil. You choose the path which builds you up or tears you down.
This book shines as an example of good character. The hero is likeable, admirable, honest and challenging. Someone to respect and learn from. A wonderful book, written by a wonderful man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Ever Read! 17 Nov 2001
When I saw this story in film format I enjoyed it but when I came across it in the college library I thought I'd give it ago and I've never enjoyed a book as much as this! It's the true story about poverty stricken Ireland in the 30's and how the author himself battled starvation, dying siblings and an alcoholic father but always managed to get through it without any complaint. It's heart wrending but funny and it's so touching it'll make you cry. I didn't want it to end and was quite gutted when I'd finish reading. It's an excellent novel and it makes you wish you could dive right into it and help him through his tough childhood. It's fantastic and to not read it would be to miss out on a piece of history which deserves to be known world wide. I'm glad this book was written and I'm glad he wrote a follow up "'Tis" which I'm definately going to read! Please read it. You'll love it!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
A very good read - although a 'dark' sad story!
Published 19 hours ago by Mrs Jane Grieve
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item
Published 8 days ago by sharon worthington
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product great value :)
Published 1 month ago by Anita
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very interesting
Published 1 month ago by war reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating. I really enjoyed this book
I found this book captivating. Most of the story is told from the point of view of the eldest child in a large Irish family. It is set on two continents. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jennifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and touching
Really enjoyed this. Told from the point of view of Frank McCourt growing up in Ireland, but told in the tone of an old friend re telling you his story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by lynsey turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
I chose this rating not only for the totally absorbing story but because the delivery was very prompt and the book arrived in good condition. I now need to see the film.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. K. Haddock
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The book is a classic. Got it for my class, quick and easy. Recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good read. Great purchase!
Published 10 months ago by A. Nilsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Misery via Catholicism
When our politicians and others talk of poverty in a country with a high level of Social Security, they should read this book which tells an incredibly harrowing story of serious... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bill.Mac
5.0 out of 5 stars Angelas Ashes.
This book is much better than the film. Frank McCourt had a very sad childhood. The 1940s were very hard times. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sapper
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