Angela's Ashes Paperback – 5 Feb 2001
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|Paperback, 5 Feb 2001||
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"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.
‘An astonishing book… completely mesmerising – you can open it almost at random and find writing to make you gasp.’ Independent
‘The most remarkable thing about Frank McCourt, apart from his survival, is his lack of sorrowfulness. Angela’s Ashes sings with irreverent Limerick wit. It makes you smile at the triumph of the storyteller, a tougher specimen who escaped Limerick’s teeming alleys through intelligence and cunning and lived to tell the tale.’ The TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
In 2016 Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes will be 20 years old, but it is still as fresh as it was when first published. After retiring from teaching in America McCourt began sorting his memoirs of childhood poverty in Limerick in the early Twentieth Century. The book, which he never expected to sell more than a few hundred copies took him a little over a year to complete. It won the Pulitzer Prize and a cascade of other awards. It topped bestseller charts for more than two years. Only Charles Dickens has managed to capture the general reader’s imagination like McCourt.
Told entirely from the child’s perspective, the narrative succeeds in drawing the reader into a charmed circle of listeners to a tale of poverty and survival against the odds. Frankie was given up for dead in the fever hospital, refused absolution by priests because he cannot abstain from masturbating and hence is not in a fit state to be absolved. He finds an ‘easy’ priest, but the minister falls asleep during his confession.
Throughout the book, the Catholic religion controls the minds of rich amd poor alike, but the rich have other comforts; the poor simply beg and starve and mostly die young. Yet this memoir, which should have been an agonising read, remains buoyant to the end. Frankie’s father is a confirmed alcoholic and mostly absent, leaving his wife Angela to cope with an increasing number of starving infants. Frankie suffers the loss of his siblings but needs to work to keep alive the remnants of his family in a rat-infested, fleahouse that collapses in a flood. He helps unload the farmers’ carts on market days and ‘at the end of the day they’ll give me vegetables they can’t sell , anything crushed, bruised or rotten in parts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this years ago and loved it but as I have moved I just wanted to replace my original copy but haven't had time to re read it yet.but am looking forward to it. With thanks.Published 29 days ago by Mrs S Morland
McCourt successfully sustains the rich tragi-comedy of his impoverished Irish Catholic childhood for half the first volume of his memoir. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stewart Robertson
Book was NOT in like new condition. Folded pages and not good condition.
Book was excellent - content.