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Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country
     

Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country

5.0 1
by David Monagan
 

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The boom-to-bust story of Ireland by the acclaimed author of Jaywalking with the Irish

A recent economic miracle, Ireland nation has now suffered a catastrophic collapse. Yet mirth, soulfulness, and eccentricity still reign. In Ireland Unhinged, Connecticut-born David Monagan explores his adopted country through the eyes of a passionate

Overview

The boom-to-bust story of Ireland by the acclaimed author of Jaywalking with the Irish

A recent economic miracle, Ireland nation has now suffered a catastrophic collapse. Yet mirth, soulfulness, and eccentricity still reign. In Ireland Unhinged, Connecticut-born David Monagan explores his adopted country through the eyes of a passionate transplant.

Moving first to Cork City, the author and his family embrace Ireland's unpredictable nature. One day Monagan's serving as a bartender in a cathedral; the next he's attending a beard convention. Before you know it, he's befriended famous writers like the lonely J.P. Donleavy, author of the iconic Ginger Man, and an actor in Grade Z films.

Still seeking the essence of Irish identity, Monagan moves his family to a country cottage on the banks of a majestic river, where he finds a timeless village universe. Hitting the road, the author encounters a white witch who still talks to fairies, eco-warriors, bog diggers, farmers, monks, an IRA killer, and brazen new Irish entrepreneurs galore. "What is Ireland? Has it lost its soul?" Monagan keeps asking as he roams from Cork to Dublin, Donegal and Belfast. His answers are singular, loving, searing, and often laugh-out-loud funny.

Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, praised Monagan as the best non-fiction writer about Ireland today. The author re-earns that honor with the delightful travel memoir, Ireland Unhinged.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Writing with an unhurried and considered hand, his wryness evident but checked by a brooding malaise, Monagan visits with landscapes both sullied and unsullied, in search of Ireland's many silver tongues. There are great bar-side chats with anonymous pubsters, as well as a wonderfully anecdote-strewn day with author J. P. Donleavy. A penetrating, droll embrace of an Ireland in the midst of tumult."  —Kirkus Reviews 

"Incisive, wry, and witty, but also coldly surgical and it repeatedly and perfectly catches the zeitgeist of an Ireland hell-bent on self-destruction. Monagan sees it all: there is Mad Max stuff in here, but this American-in-Ireland's analysis is also highly reasoned and grinning. Read it."  —Patrick McCabe, author, The Butcher Boy, Breakfast on Pluto, and The Stray Sod Country

Library Journal
American expat Monagan (Jaywalking with the Irish) rode the Celtic Tiger, the decade of unprecedented Irish prosperity beginning in the mid-1990s, with serious trepidation that traditional Irish culture would be snared in its teeth. Simultaneously modern and ancient, enchanting and coarse, deeply melancholy and wildly exuberant, Monagan's Ireland is a fascinating paradox painted in (sometimes excessively) lyrical prose. Yet it is his bittersweet search for permanence in a changing world rather than his description of a country that gives his book relevance beyond the average travelog. Because Ireland's boom and subsequent bust were more dramatic than those of nearly any other country, it is a perfect microcosm for examining the loss and confusion reverberating around the post-recession globe. VERDICT Monagan's quest for continuity in a land struggling for its identity is a journey all readers, from armchair adventurers to economists, can share. Although the author occasionally gets carried away with melodramatic language and self-indulgent tangents, he presents a timely and humorous perspective on Ireland and the modern world.—Audrey Barbakoff, Milwaukee P.L., WI
Kirkus Reviews

A sometimes happy, sometimes blue story of how a transplanted American family experienced Ireland during the past decade.

Monagan (Jaywalking with the Irish, 2004) spent a year in Dublin in the early '70s and was taken by the vividness of life in Ireland. In 2000, he and his family moved from their home in Connecticut to Cork, amid the country's spectacular economic boom. Here the author looks back at the decade and the efforts he made to rediscover the "improvisational, wickedly fresh, and so very human" Ireland he knew. The process was a rediscovery because so much of what seemingly made Ireland special had been lost in the vulgar maw of the boom, "a litany of runaway materialism, instant gratification, increasing hooliganism, and excess of every stripe." Though certainly there is much left standing in Ireland—the loss of rural pubs, however, is alarming—Monagan was blessed to find a little slice of Old Ireland he could afford. The author and his family purchased a house along the Blackwater River, in Ballyduff, full of gardens and sky, rolling hills and forest and warm, welcoming neighbors. Writing with an unhurried and considered hand, his wryness evident but checked by a brooding malaise, Monagan visits with landscapes both sullied and unsullied, in search of Ireland's many silver tongues. There are great bar-side chats with anonymous pubsters, as well as a wonderfully anecdote-strewn day with author J.P. Donleavy.

A penetrating, droll embrace of an Ireland in the midst of tumult.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571782526
Publisher:
Council Oak Books
Publication date:
03/28/2011
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

David Monagan is the author Journey into the Heart and Jaywalking with the Irish, which Frank McCourt praised as a hard, beautiful book about Ireland. His writings about Ireland have been featured in Forbes Life, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sunday Times, and many Irish newspapers and magazines.

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Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
seaagain More than 1 year ago
This book is both poetic and profound...yet lighthearted...there are passages that will make you laugh out loud. A most enjoyable well-written read - go for it!