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Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
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Angela's Ashes: A Memoir (original 1996; edition 2003)

by Frank McCourt

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,849242111 (3.99)282
Member:virg144
Title:Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
Authors:Frank McCourt
Info:Scribner
Collections:Donated Aug 2010 for the Aflac Cancer Center Book Sale
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

  1. 60
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (cataylor)
  2. 42
    Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (Joles)
    Joles: Written in the same style as Angela's Ashes, this deals with Frank's teaching in New York.
  3. 20
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (readerbabe1984)
  4. 20
    The Life Before Us by Romain Gary (olyvia)
    olyvia: Un reel bijoux de tendresse et d'emotion , a ne pas rater pour ceux qui ont aimé les cendres d'angela .
  5. 20
    The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: The Hiding Place is often compared to Angela's Ashes. The settings and subject matter are indeed very similar; however, McCourt's book has a lot of humour written between the depressing bits. And the Hiding Place is more creative and literary. Two very different approaches to poverty in the British Isles.… (more)
  6. 10
    Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (one-horse.library)
  7. 10
    Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor (raton-liseur)
    raton-liseur: L’Etoile des mers est un roman, il décrit l’Irlande rurale, les luttes politiques du XIXème siècle. Mais ce ne sont pas ses seules différences avec les Cendres d’Angela. C’est aussi et surtout un régal de lecture, tant par sa trame que son écriture et par son intérêt historique.… (more)
  8. 32
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (nu-bibliophile)
  9. 00
    The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein (RoxieF)
  10. 11
    The Dark by John McGahern (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both stories are about young men growing up in poverty in Ireland.
  11. 00
    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (dpf2102)
    dpf2102: Similar stories of childhood loss.
  12. 00
    44: Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan (Fliss88)
  13. 01
    Q & A by Vikas Swarup (shesinplainview)
    shesinplainview: One is true, one is fiction, but both about boys growing up in inconceivable proverty.
  14. 01
    Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu (shesinplainview)
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» See also 282 mentions

English (224)  Spanish (4)  Italian (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  German (1)  Estonian (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (242)
Showing 1-5 of 224 (next | show all)
I’ve just finished reading Angela’s Ashes — a book I found fortuitously, but also quite fortunately, here in Brooklyn at the 8th Street Book Exchange.

“Fortuitously” is perhaps not altogether accurate. I pass by this book exchange at least 2-3 times a week in the hope that I’ll spot a gem I haven’t already read. I recognized both the title and the author’s name immediately—and grabbed it. “Fortunately,” however, is entirely accurate. Why? Because I can say with confidence that Angela’s Ashes is one of the finest works of literary fiction I know of—and I’ve read many in this particular coming-of-age genre, starting decades ago with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones and, just recently, with John Cleland’s Fanny Hill.

If you’ve got a fondness for the sound of Irish brogue — and I do — Angela’s Ashes is the book for you! The prose in this book moves fast. Very fast. But I suspect that almost involuntary speed-of-read has more to do with the writer’s talent than with the brogue. It takes talent to make a reader’s eye move quickly across the page, and Frank McCourt has that talent. In spades.

But he also has something else, which I’ll call a perfect pitch and feel for tragicomedy. There are passages in this book — great mountains of them — that are painful to read. There are also passages — most of them dialogue — that will make you laugh like Satan. None of them, mind you, of the knee-slapping variety, but rather of the frenzied-at-midnight, demonically celebratory variety. I dunno. Perhaps it’s just the brogue. Or Ireland. Or the Irish — surely God’s chosen wretches if there ever were such a “Chosen People.”

If I have any criticism of Angela’s Ashes — any at all — it would be only this: I wish Frank McCourt would hoe his prose-gardens with more standard punctuation. It would render the his prose-roses less thorny in the plucking.

That said, if I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Yes, it's that good.

RRB
09/04/13
Brooklyn, NY

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2372715.html

This was given to us by a dear Alaskan friend in Bosnia back in 1998, and I read it pretty avidly then; my other half, however, gave it up as too awful after the second dead baby. (The second is not the last.) Rereading it, I still think it's a tremendous tour de force, an agonising story of poverty and how Ireland can wreck your family; I am perhaps a little better read in this sub-genre now, but it remains a classic.

If you haven't read it, it's the Pulitzer-winning autobiography of Frank McCourt, son of a Limerick lass and an Antrim lad, born in New York in 1930, but propelled back to Limerick by the Great Depression and by his father's alcoholism and utter inability to hold down a job. Angela, his mother, sometimes holds it together and sometimes doesn't; they are treated by church and layfolk as the undeserving poor; significantly, rather late in the book, Frank gets his first real break working for the remnant Protestant community of Limerick. There are some funny moments, but in general it's a grimly realistic account of the Years of the Great Test, and how they played out for the most vulnerable. (Perhaps a little exaggerated - I don't believe a word of the Theresa Carmody subplot.)

So; I think it's a great story about poverty and social exclusion, and the damage caused by addiction; I think one has to take it with a slight pinch of salt; but even without the pinch, it's a compelling tale. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 21, 2014 |
Blew me away! ( )
  JillNYC | Oct 26, 2014 |
At first this book was kind of annoying. I got tired of the way the author babbled and rambled about insignificant details. However, near the end of the book there were a few particularly beautiful scenes. One in particular, no spoilers, that gave me goosebumps and made me look at the whole book differently. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it every couple of years. It makes you laugh, cry and inspires you to keep trying for your goals and never give up. The author (now deceased) and his family overcame many obstacles in his life such as poverty, illness, a parent's alcoholism, and discrimination yet went on to write his first book late in life. I also read his other book 'Tis. This book should be the reading list for every high school student! ( )
  Mary_Books | Aug 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 224 (next | show all)
A spunky, bittersweet memoir.
added by Shortride | editTime, John Elson (Sep 23, 1996)
 
Frank McCourt waited more than four decades to tell the story of his childhood, and it's been well worth the wait. With ''Angela's Ashes,'' he has [written] a book that redeems the pain of his early years with wit and compassion and grace. He has written a book that stands with ''The Liars Club'' by Mary Karr and Andre Aciman's ''Out of Egypt'' as a classic modern memoir.
 
For the most part, [McCourt's] style is that of an Irish-American raconteur, honorably voluble and engaging. He is aware of his charm but doesn't disgracefully linger upon it. Induced by potent circumstances, he has told his story, and memorable it is.
 
This memoir is an instant classic of the genre -- all the more remarkable for being the 66-year-old McCourt's first book.
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCourt, Frankprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowohlt, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wissen, Driek vanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
This book is dedicated to my brothers,
Malachy, Michael, Alphonsus.
I learn from you, I admire you and I love you.
First words
My father and mother should have stayed in New York where they met and married and where I was born.
Quotations
Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes, you can never get enough of him.
When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived it all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Frank McCourt's memoir Angela's Ashes is an unusual immigrant story, told from the view of the person the author was at a particular stage in his life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 068484267X, Paperback)

Frank McCourt's haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Recounting scenes from his childhood in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourt's interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:56 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy -- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling -- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors -- yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness. Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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