Thursday, July 23, 2009

The world of literature is poorer now

Frank McCourt died a few days ago. People come, people go; they are born, they live, they die. This one meant more to me somehow.

A lot of you probably think Frank was Irish. He was raised in Ireland. He was famous because of his book which was mostly about Ireland.

But Frank was born in Brooklyn. Truly, though, if anyone was Irish, it was Frank. If you have read the story of his childhood in his most famous work, "Angela's Ashes," then you may agree with that statement. Still, when Frank came back to the land of his birth years later, he wasn't immigrating and he didn't need a passport; Frank was coming home.

Now he has gone home again.

Malachy, his brother, is a good author in his own right. I have, and have read, his "History of Ireland." He is interesting. But - and no offense to Malachy McCourt - he can't hold a candle to Frank in the writing department.

My opinion.

8 comments:

A. said...

I sometimes think I'm the only person in the world to have the opinion that Angela's Ashes was hyped out of proportion. It didn't ring entirely true to me. I've read more fantastical books and been able to believe them, so to me there was something lacking. There was without a doubt something lacking in 'Tis and Teacher Man. Just my (different) opinion.

A. said...

P.S. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, because I did.

ettarose said...

I also enjoyed the book but I have to admit I had to read it more than once to "get it"

Relax Max said...

@A. - The movie was hyped out of all proportion, dumbed down, and a huge disappointment. It tried to condense 19 years into 90 minutes. It failed and almost sucked. Of course the movie didn't ring true to you. It seemed like something was missing, right? Sheesh!

The book was an autobiogrphy, A. JesusJosephAndMary! How can you judge the veracity of an autobiography?

But I miss him because he was a good writer and I was captivated by the style that drew me from my surroundings and into his life. Don't be so defensive of Dublin. Maybe it happened, maybe he took some liberties. He wouldn't be the first Irish writer to do that. :)

Relax Max said...

@Ettarose - Why do I not believe you didn't get it? You must have just watched the movie. I did that after I read the book and I didn't get it either. :)

But I am glad you read it twice. So did I.

A lot of people (in Dublin) don't think he was truthful either, like A. is saying. But most of it happened behind closed doors and the older people of Dublin are embarrassed by what he said. Doesn't mean he really lied. (He may have gotten caught up in the excitement of his story sometimes, but never "lied". The Irish don't lie.) :)

Speaking of prejudice, as I did in another recent post, remember the part where Angela is making excuses for her drunkard husband not being able to find and keep work, saying it is because he had a Belfast accent? There is no end to "reasons" for prejudice.

A. said...

You're calling me an older person? Are you? Are you? Ye gods! I'm not an older person. And as you say, the Irish don't lie.

Descartes said...

I agree that Malachy is not a great writer and that Frank was. Growing up a poor and melancholy child myself, I over identified with Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Nothing so sad and bad happened to me, but it sure felt like the end of the world at the time.

I agree with A. that Tis and Teacherman were not nearly as good as Angela's Ashes, but they were still pretty damned good. The man could write.

A., you have to be older than someone, though there are few other than Max.

And Max, should that be Jaysus, Joesuf, and Mary?

ken armstrong said...

I met Frank once, he was candid and unassuming. I was bold enough to ask him why the book was called Angela's Ashes and he told me and I would not have guessed the reason.

He has written a lovely book in Angela's Ashes and I hear the third book, Teacher Man is even better. I haven't read it yet.

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