Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyDunne identifies four stages of the Irish-American experience: immigrant, outcast, assimilated, deracinated. By the end of what PW termed ``this mordant, defiant, raunchy, sarcastic memoir--a mix of self-revelation, travel sketches, ruminations,'' Dunne is proudly searching for his great-grandfather's identity in the parish records of an Irish village. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal``Harp'' being a derogatory term for Irish Catholic, and this memoir opening with a vividly rendered passage on the suicide of Dunne's brother, Stephen, the reader is led to expect a heartfelt probing of the pain, individual and collective, of Dunne's Irish American experience. Pain there is, and plenty of evidence to support Dunne's observation that ``I had always thought I had a feel for the aberrant.'' But like the dumpster rented by Dunne and wife Joan Didion when they clean house before moving from California to New York, the book is chock full of scraps of Dunne's life, from his Hartford upbringing, through army life in Germany, to sojourns in the Middle East and Ireland and the anxieties of angioplasty. Throughout, Dunne offers passages from his notebooks to show how a writer uses such material. The result, told in Dunne's typically tough-guy, mock-jovial tone, is fascinating in its parts but doesn't quite cohere. Still, Dunne's fans, and anyone interested in the craft of writing, will find this absorbing.-- Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
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