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Tis: A Memoir Hardcover – 22 Sep 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st. Edition edition (22 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002570807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002570800
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The sequel to Frank McCourt's memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela's Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949 upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his "pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth," has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and dark humour that distinguished his first memoir; race prejudice, casual cruelty and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt's openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can't help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, in which Angela's ashes are scattered over a Limerick graveyard. --Wendy Smith

Review

Peter Collier "Los Angeles Times Book Review" "'Tis" has those elements that made "Angela's Ashes" such a success -- the narrative brio, the fierce sympathy for human tic and torment, the intuitive feel for character and, above all, the love of language and that very Irish understanding that words are our only weapon in our long quarrel with God. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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When the MS Irish Oak sailed from Cork in October 1949, we expected to be in New York City in a week. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
'Tis' holds parallels with 'Sons & Lovers', albeit set in the bustling metropolis of post-war New York as opposed to 19th century Nottinghamshire. The educated elder son of an awkward mother and absent father struggles to find his own identity in a land that displays prejudice against his background and compulsively remarks at 'the Irish brogue'.
The young adult Frankie takes several menial jobs and has to endure providential college students who ride the trains: handsome guys and wholesome girls with perfect teeth and skin and NYU folders flaunting their superiority. A stretch in the army enables Frankie to learn useful administrative skills, and he finally pleads to be allowed to study at NYU, eventually becoming a teacher.
At this point, McCourt's memoirs cease to follow the path of 'Angela's Ashes', and with each progressive chapter the verse loses the lilt and cadence that so coloured the previous work. Writing that was once a joy to read becomes tedious and monotonous: the repetitive references to life back in Limerick and seemingly endless prose leading apparently nowhere. The reader is left confused by Frankie's attitude towards his family and somewhat weary with the dry anecdotes of his time spent teaching dispassionate students.
As with DH Lawrence, however, one can only share McCourt's obvious frustration with his life, particularly the way he feels trapped between the life of a bohemian, listening to jazz and discussing philosophy, and the comfort and security of his wife, child and home. As such, Frankie seldom seems to learn any lessons from his experiences or those of his family. Students, and their fashions, come and go but McCourt treads slowly along, disenchanted and unable to find fulfilment.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chelli on 14 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
It's very rare a sequel to an autobiography is anywhere near as good as the first, but this flows straight on from Angela's Ashes in exactly the same detailed evocative prose. Frank's life as a naive just off the boat Irish man in New York is every bit as fascinating as his poverty stricken childhood in Ireland. There's a touch more humour and a touch less misery but the tale is still full of intriguing characters and events.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Frank McCourt has a wonderful style of writing that ties the reader to the pages. He writes in a conversational manner which makes the entire book seem like a story your friend Frank was telling you. The story continues from Angela's Ashes and young McCourt lands himself in America. As a European living in America for a while, I encountered the same oddities and quirks about the Amerikcan McCourt found when he described his experiences in America. All and all it's an entertaining story to read, and and definetly an engaging book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Essex Girl on 23 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book picks up exactly where Angela's Ashes left off - on the boat to America. Having enjoyed McCourt's first memoir, I was looking forward to this follow up. At first I preferred it - It was less harrowing! There were still mentions of Ireland to jog your memory if you had not read the prequel for a while, and it was full of tales of how he settled into New York, girls he met and his time in the army.
After a while the story started to wane. There was little or no mention of Ireland and the family after Frank went for a visit, and his family came over to the US for a visit. There were plenty of teacher's tales, but I felt he was almost padding the book out until he got to a suitable ending (which he did). I feel he was very vague with references to how his family got on after a while also. You know they got on with their own lives, but you don’t know if they were happy or successful.
The style of writing is as Angela's Ashes, no speech marks are used, just indentations. For the most part it is an easy read, those it does get a bit repetitive in parts. I still enjoyed this book, and fans of Angela's Ashes would also enjoy it, just don't expect more of the same.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By royc@onmail.co.uk on 30 Jan. 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading Angela's Ashes and loving it I wasn't that keen on reading what can sometimes be a poor sequel. After reading the first page of Frank McCourt's Tis I was gripped. McCourt manages to lead you into the journey of life. Predominantly set in post war New York it tells the story of a man who wants to turn a dream into reality. The man who wants to discover the joys of America and the girls with white teeth. As you wander through his life with him and encounter the prejudice, the love and loss of so many of his dreams you can't help but wonder whether Ireland would have been better for him. Towards the end of the book, it begins to lack flare and begins to tire a little but to be honest the rest of the book makes up for it. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes this kind of genre. Even if you haven't read Angela's Ashes you could still follow it because it does acknowledge his past. After finishing it, you want to read it again just to join and share McCourt's life. Its gripping, powerful and provocative. Not as good as Angela's Ashes but well worth a buy! When's the next book?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leyla Sanai on 11 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
The sequel to Angela's Ashes is an enchanting tale of what happens to Frank when he leaves the grimy, depressing slums of Limerick as a young man and travels on his own to America in search of a new life. 'Tis avoids the self pitying, sanctimonious tone of many memoirs of people who have toiled their way to fame, and, despite being a sequel, the book stands alone magnificently and is a totally rivetting read.

Frank's experiences in America, ranging from being a scorned cleaner in a hotel, an array of roles in the army, and various manual jobs, and his fight to better himself by going to college, are depicted in vivid, glorious detail, and there are numerous hilarious incidents, and colourful characters who grasp the reader's attention tenaciously and don't let go. Some of the scenes had me doubled up with laughter, in particular, the occasion when Frank tries to surreptitiously eat a slice of pie in the cinema, the time a pal of his is trying to dump a frozen joint of meat, which ends up being hauled away as a suspected accident victim, and Frank's wonderful and unconventional wedding.

Frank's transformation from a spotty, awkward,rotten-teethed, conjunctivitis-ridden boy to a confident young man is mesmerising, and the rites of passage of a young man discovering the world, sex, love and himself are painted with a beautifully light touch.

'Tis is a thoroughly hypnotic read, with moods and emotions spanning the whole gamut from fascinating insights through moving scenes to wonderfully entertaining anecdotes. McCourt manages to transform the everyday to an art form. This is a hard book to put down.
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