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Angela's Ashes (1996)

by Frank McCourt, Frank McCourt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Frank McCourt’s memoirs (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
20,507325158 (4)388
"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)
  1. 70
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (cataylor)
  2. 52
    Teacher Man: A Memoir 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
    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)
  4. 53
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Headinherbooks_27)
  5. 20
    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)
  6. 20
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (readerbabe1984)
  7. 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 .
  8. 10
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (caflores)
  9. 10
    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (TomWaitsTables)
  10. 00
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (KayCliff)
  11. 00
    Nobody's Boy by Hector Malot (Cecrow)
  12. 11
    The Dark by John McGahern (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both stories are about young men growing up in poverty in Ireland.
  13. 00
    The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein (RoxieF)
  14. 00
    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (dpf2102)
    dpf2102: Similar stories of childhood loss.
  15. 00
    44: Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan (Fliss88)
  16. 01
    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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» See also 388 mentions

English (295)  Spanish (8)  Italian (6)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (2)  Estonian (1)  Swedish (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (324)
Showing 1-5 of 295 (next | show all)
8484502074
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
The author tells his family's story with love, humor, and a child's sense of wonder. Even though the narrative is sad, it doesn't evoke pity or tears. It's an uplifting story told with great warmth. What does come through, however, is a pervasive sense of McCourt's shame and the insensitivity of more fortunate people to those less fortunate. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Mar 19, 2022 |
i probably wouldn't read this book again, but i did enjoy it. ( )
  rebelxx | Feb 9, 2022 |
It was good to listen to "Angela's Ashes" again, even though it was only the abridged version. When I first heard the book, Frank McCourt was still alive and touring. I had heard about "Angela's Ashes" because he had won Teach of the Year. He wanted to get across that he was not a remarkable man, just a good storyteller. Some of his antics remind me of my friend James. He's funny and likes to tell stories as well.

Another aspect of "Angela's Ashes" is Frank's choice to work to go to America, take the test to become a postman, or go on the dole to drink. He could have followed his father's path. I would have said it would have been easier, but it isn't easier. Emotionally, it is not easier. I'm glad Frank McCourt got out, taught, and wrote some books that can be an example for rising out of a poverty-stricken childhood. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Much has been heard about this. The beginning particularly is depressing. But it is a valuable record of poverty. Imagine a boy who possesses only one shirt.
  jgoodwll | Oct 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 295 (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 (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCourt, Frankprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCourt, Frankmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowohlt, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wissen, Driek vanTranslatorsecondary 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.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

"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.

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