Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All roads lead to McCarthy, 5 Mar 2003
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Hardcover)
It seems that you either like Pete McCarthy or you don't. Since The Road to McCarthy is pretty much volume two of McCarthy's Bar, it won't be too difficult for most of us to decide whether we want to read it.
This time around, McCarthy's lengthy pub crawls, sticky ferry trips and sporadic reflections on roots, religion and the heritage industry cover a wider area of the world map. Otherwise, it's really more of the same.
And that's fine by me. I love McCarthy's writing. I find it wry, witty, self-deprecating and deceptively sharp. And yes, it does make me laugh out loud on the bus. But beneath the blokey banter there are genuine and surprisingly subtle insights into some of the big issues facing twenty first century westerners.
For McCarthy, these are mostly to do with working out a sense of belonging in an increasingly dislocated, commercialised and globalising culture. Neither fully English nor fully Irish, and not truly at home in either place, it's not surprising that he uses travel writing to pursue his theme.
McCarthy is particularly good on the human need to build some kind of sensible narrative around our lives. Pointing out that no-one wants to live their life as experimental drama, he puts up quite a defence for the exploding interest in genealogy and the quest for a family story, which many of us have learnt to dismiss with a sophisticated sneer. He certainly pushed me to rethink that one.
Maybe it's an age thing - I probably wouldn't have felt this when I was twenty five - but I'm quite happy to give McCarthy's favourite themes a second go. And if they are surrounded by some entertaining but perceptive and thought provoking descriptions of his life and times in New York, Tasmania and several points in between, then that's fine too. Even if most of his life and times there are spent in scummy bars. Again.
But then, you may have experienced McCarthy's Bar as nothing more than a crass catalogue of repetitive drinking sessions in the company of a dull and irritating bore, whose main pastime is taking swipes at the English, the Irish and any other available nationality. In that case, The Road to McCarthy will probably seem like a cynical and lazy attempt to sell the same book twice.
You pay your money (or not) and you make your choice . . .
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Mar 2013 21:13:32 GMT
D Mills says:
Like the other review, This review is in the wrong place, its about an entirely different book by an entirely different author.
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