'Tis Paperback – 3 Oct 2005
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
''’Tis’ feels like a friend, telling the tales of his life over a pint, with charm and humour, economy and pace. There is a sense of loss when you have to close the pages and sleep, or go on to other things. McCourt is a masterful writer. All who read ‘Angela's Ashes’ will read '’Tis’. They will love it, and so did I.' Independent on Sunday
'Few will be able to resist this pacey and fluid sequel. In post-war New York, McCourt moves through work as a longshoreman, a spell in the army, to night-school, to become a creative writing teacher encouraging his kids to "write about what you know" – the same policy that has led him to belated international celebrity. McCourt's gift lies not simply in having lived through interesting times, but having developed his skills as an editor and narrator to produce two fine, funny and moving slices of a past that is not simply Ireland's, but everyone's.' Guardian
'Every page contains an unforced laugh. The gloom is indivisible from moments of great joy and compassion – the sound of jazz pouring from a club, the comforting arm of a fellow worker – which McCourt is able to express in his fresh and supple prose. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, McCourt has the power to transform even the saddest recollections into sentences of great beauty, and in that beauty lies the possibility of salvation.' Mail on SundaySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
McCourt has a clear voice which cleverly succeeds in combining the voice and problems of an Irish/American in 1950's New York, with the mental turmoil and doubt which accompanies us all in times of personal crisis. There were times when I thought the book was becoming a little long with repeated formulas of diction, but this too draws out the drudgery and repetition of a life in which he dragged himself from the lowest positions in New York to supporting himself through University and becoming a succesfull teacher and writer.
When I finished the book the hackles on the back of my neck stood up and I began writing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did finish the book but I did not enjoy it as much as Angela's Ashes. For me it got a bit boring and the language (swearing) in my opinion was unnecessary at times.Published 12 months ago by Mrs. K. Haddock
Repetitive ,not as good as first and second book.
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading.
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