Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans

Overview

In thirty-five years and dozens of return trips to Ireland, Thomas Lynch has found a template for the larger world inside the small one, the planet in the local parish.
Part memoir, part cultural study, Booking Passage is a brilliant, often comedic guidebook for those “fellow travelers, fellow pilgrims” making their way through the complexities of their own lives and times.

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Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans

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Overview

In thirty-five years and dozens of return trips to Ireland, Thomas Lynch has found a template for the larger world inside the small one, the planet in the local parish.
Part memoir, part cultural study, Booking Passage is a brilliant, often comedic guidebook for those “fellow travelers, fellow pilgrims” making their way through the complexities of their own lives and times.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
National Book Award finalist Thomas Lynch was born in the United States, but like so many Irish Americans, his roots are back in the Old Sod. Thirty-five years ago, he returned to the oceanside cottage in West Clare from which his great-grandfather, another Thomas Lynch, had departed nearly a century before. In the decades since, Lynch has returned to Ireland dozens of times, sharing stories and gaining wisdom from common (and quite uncommon) folk. Part memoir and part cultural study, Booking Passage is a tribute to a world we should never leave behind.
Washington Post
“He’s no mere tourist but a man who’s made a deep personal commitment to the land from which his forebears came and who has a sensitive, nuanced understanding of the place and its people. . . . It’s a lovely book.”
Detroit Free Press
“[Lynch’s] is a subtle, quick-moving mind, and it is a pleasure to walk beside his mental perambulations . . . rendered with love and grace.”
New York Times Book Review
“[Lynch] draws an enticing picture of his home away from home: the dreamlike environs of Moveen, County Clare.”
Publishers Weekly
Undertaker-cum-poet Lynch (Bodies in Motion and at Rest) recalls his long romance with Eire and how it has affected his life in this compelling memoir. He takes off for the Emerald Isle early in 1970 to meet his people, who live on the edge of the Atlantic in County Clare. He stays with his elderly cousins, Nora and Tommy, a brother and sister who never married. The humble cottage has no water and is heated by a turf fire. Here the young Yank absorbs his culture shock and learns how life is lived without television, cars and other modern distractions. After Tommy's death, Lynch and Nora become closer, and he begins to bring the 20th century into the house in the form of running water. Along the way he tells the story of the Lynches of County Clare: how they survived "starvation, eviction and emigration-the three-headed scourge of English racism"-and the pain of diaspora as they emigrated to the U.S. Along the way Lynch examines his own life: his love-hate relationship with the misogynist Catholic Church and pedophilic priests; his battle with alcoholism; the breakup of his marriage and remarriage; and his unusual love of the undertaking trade. This is a deeply thought-out book filled with poetry, pathos, triumph and lots of Irish laughter. Agent, Richard McDonough. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
You might think that revisiting Ireland has been done to death in the rush to publish following Angela's Ashes, but think again- poet/essayist Lynch is always excellent. With a seven-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328578
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/5/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Lynch's The Undertaking was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Michigan and Ireland.

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