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No News at Throat Lake Hardcover – 7 Oct 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (7 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670882208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670882205
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 808,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Guardian journalist and ex-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions bassist Lawrence Donegan always had a hankering to live in Ireland. "It was a back-to-my-roots thing. London was filthy, crowded, expensive. Above all, it was inhospitable. I had lived in the same ground-floor flat for eight years and I still had yet to pass a civil word with anyone in the street." In No News at Throat Lake he says goodbye to all that and exchanges flat, job and girlfriend for a shack in Creeslough, County Donegal.

It's no Year in Provence . The shack is rat-infested, the promised job on a farm proves non-existent and there's scant social-life. But Donegan perseveres (partly because he's too ashamed to tell his girlfriend he couldn't hack it) so finds a job on the Tirconail Tribune and mates on the local Gaelic football team. The newspaper, run by a man named John Mcteer ("In another life John McTeer had been Gore Vidal with stronger opinions, Henry Ford with ambition"), revitalises Donegan's enthusiasm for news reporting, as he investigates local life. He goes on a pilgrimage to the shrine at Knock, researches the life of Doris Duke's Creeslough-born butler and, surprisingly, interviews Meryl Streep in this funny and poignant tale of life in rural Ireland. --Tamsin Todd

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Tirconnaill Tribune was the last newspaper I picked up from the pile on the bottom shelf.

Donegal seemed to have more newspapers than Fleet Street. The Democrat the People's Press, the Journal, the News. I flicked through them all, looking for the job adverts. I could have been anywhere in the world. It was all the usual stuff: irate politicians, planning rows, sporting triumphs, wedding photographs featuring fat brides with big hair and grooms with bad teeth. The jobs didn't signpost a lifetime of adventure: tractor driver wanted, assistant required by Gary's Pet World, Sales! Earn #400-a-week.

The Tribune was different from the others. It was smaller, for a start, a tabloid. It didn't have job adverts or many adverts at all, just stories as epic as a Dickens novel. Page one declared, The Irish Republic has become a nation of entrenched little Catholics because of the absolute stranglehold of the Bishops sine the foundation of the state and the last twenty-five years have been a disaster reflecting the whole manifestation of corruption in our midst and there are more scandals ahead, said John Cooney in speech during which Councillor Fred Coll walked out in protest saying he would rather go to mass than listen to this nonsense.

I was exhausted just reading it.

I turned to the inside pages. Every story read like the public lynching of someone in authority. The Church, the Government in Dublin, the phone company, the electricity board. On the back page there was a story about drugs which read like it had been written on LSD:

Gardai were called to a number
of drug related incidents on
Monday following a major week-
end of acid parties, raves and
fun activities on beaches. Con-
cerns were first aroused on
Sunday after several bouts of
erratic behaviour and couples
(believed to be of the opposite
sex) were seen to be acting
strangely and passionately along
public roads. In a different town-
land another youth was found
trying to make a phone call from
a local bush and it was presumed
that he was frustrated because
the entire Telecom Eireann net-
work had gone down again but
on closer observation this man
was having a spiritual experience
with God.

There was another thing I liked about Danny - he didn't care if you read his newspapers and didn't pay for them. I stood there for fifteen minutes, flicking through the Tribune. It wasn't like any local newspaper I'd ever read before, not least because it had a medical column headlined SOLVING FLATULENCE! Which began with the words "Everyone has wind. If you don't you're not alive."

Looking back it was obvious. Sure, it was a step down from the Guardian - hell, it was a drop through a trap-door from the Guardian- and it meant going back on all those promises I made to myself about seeking new challenges. So what. I never did have much time for all that New Age gibberish.

"Do you know this paper Danny?" I said as he walked past. He nodded. "Think they would give a job to a trained journalist like me?"

"Good lads at the Tribune, you know." He smiled and walked towards the door carrying a pensioner's shopping bag. "Game for just about anything - you should go and see them."

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lawrence Donegan was, you see, a former member of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions who went on to become a reporter with 'The Guardian' newspaper before finding himself in Donegal first on a farm and then on the staff of the 'Tirconaill Tribune.'Knowing him though wouldn't be enough for me to say his book was good even if I thought it wasn't. Even Match of the Day got a miss (well the start of it anyway) as I chortled out loud at Lawrence's recollections of days in Donegal, especially days with the Tirconaill Tribune lads. It is mainly his involvement with the Tribune that gives him the wonderful ammunition for his hilarious, yet sometimes serious look at rural Donegal - from the perspective of somebody arriving from the outside.The title of the book stems from the literal translation of Creeslough (Throat lake) where Lawrence stayed for the best part of a year, mingled with the locals and even managed to worm his way onto the local GAA team. Okay so it was the reserves, but he still got on.The book certainly strips away those Hollywood style myths of rural Ireland with thatched cottages and fairies in the back garden, but in the same token reinforces some of the ideas that we are a breed apart.For instance the Tribune was, let's just say, a bit of a culture shock for Lawrence, but there was no doubt that he loved it. Any reporter would. A paper very much in the same niche type market as the Inish Times, the reports of how the Tribune was put together with late nights and early mornings certainly touched a few chords here.Not that the papers are similar in editorial content or style.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I think most people who read a great deal secretly hope to write, I freely admit I am guilty. And so when I read a razor sharp piece of writing that appears to have been written with as much ease as skill, it's a love hate reaction.

Mr. Donegan has senses that are like those we all posses, however that's where the similarity ends. A person hears a phrase spoken; the Author hears it with every possible variation his built in thesaurus provides. We all see an event, he matches, contrasts, or finds a bit of irony, with an infinite number of other events. You do not want to be the subject his attention is focused upon when his wit is at work. He's hyper perceptive, quick and ruthless. Think of a spinning propeller; now walk through it.

A poem appears in a paper he writes for, his comment, "I've never seen such a lethal combination of bad poetry and bad taste. It was the anniversary of her death, after all. As soon as I saw it in the Tirconaill Tribune I wished I had never written it". Sure.

He went to cover an event where the tension between Catholic and Protestant were taught to say the least. Ever resourceful he "bought a copy of The Illustrated Orange Song Book at a street stall (I wanted to learn the words to "The Pope's A Darkie" just in case I ever needed to ingratiate myself with the Reverend Ian Paisly". In the flow of his narrative it is brilliantly placed and timed. I know my repeating it will anger some. I would suggest they lighten up, wretched pun not intended.

This is a memoir of a time spent working for a small newspaper in an even smaller Irish town. It's 90% laugh out loud funny, and perhaps 10% dark, perceptive, social satire. You will enjoy every page, and will hate when it ends.

I cannot wait to see Paul Newman play the Priest that saved an island. It will be his next Oscar.
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By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Best book I've read in years. As an ex-patriot who left Ireland 21 years ago I found myself relating to everything in the book. I found myself laughing out loud too many times to count. Thanks Mr. Donegan for such an enjoyable read.
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Format: Hardcover
Donegan captures the phrases of the people showing how they are when you make an effort on their terms. Similar to the smiles you might get in France when making an honest attempt at the language, there is a quiet admiration. In Donegal and rural Ireland this comes from participation in Gaelic football. Donegan does the place proud, describing in warm terms, that show it to be not unlike a lot of places, only more rain.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many people think of escaping stressful lives, leaving the city and making a new life in the countryside. Lawrence doesn't disappear to sunny climes such as Driving over lemons in Provence but instead tries to make it in rainy old Donegal. He tells his story in a humorous down to earth way, that has the ring of truth about it (though he is a journalist so you do wonder). He is a talented guy who has a knack for making friends (it appears), and has the skills necessary to start a new life from scratch. The book has valuable lessons for anyone planning a similar adventure.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must read for Lawrence Donegan fans. He immerses himself in the culture of Donegal, by working for the local publication, The Tir Conaill Tribune, joining the G.A.A. club and even having a go, at a bit of farming. A typical humour spattered adventure from the Scotsman's pen ensues, before The Guardian lure him away, and his Irish odyssey ends.
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