A Long Stone's Throw

A Long Stone's Throw

4.2 4
by Alphie McCourt

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The McCourt family gained fame through the books of brothers Frank and Malachy and in the two popular documentaries that profiled them. In A Long Stone’s Throw, the youngest McCourt, Alphie, adds his gifted voice to this literary chorus with a vivid, emotional memoir that starts in his native Limerick. Alone and dispirited after his brothers leave for


The McCourt family gained fame through the books of brothers Frank and Malachy and in the two popular documentaries that profiled them. In A Long Stone’s Throw, the youngest McCourt, Alphie, adds his gifted voice to this literary chorus with a vivid, emotional memoir that starts in his native Limerick. Alone and dispirited after his brothers leave for America, Alphie flees Ireland as soon as he’s able. He spends the remainder of his adolescence in New York, aimless and half drunk. A return to Ireland to study law is a dismal failure. Back in America, things aren’t much better until he reconnects with, and eventually marries, the beautiful Lynn. Still, things are rough: their daughter Allison is born with difficulties, business success alternates with business failures, he continues to drink. Finally, after an epiphany on Route 80, McCourt learns to navigate, clear-eyed, the happy chaos of New York City, and of life itself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Stepping out from the shadows of his talented elder brothers, Frank and Malachy, the youngest of the McCourt clan offers his version of his family's famously miserable childhood in Limerick and subsequent journey to America. McCourt narrates his memoir with a slow, contemplative tone that transcends the limitations of recorded audio as he connects on a deeply personal level with his audience. Though his delivery is slow and straightforward, the melancholy lilt in his voice is Irish throughout, and listeners will appreciate and understand the story all the better because of his reading. A Sterling and Ross hardcover (Review Annex). (Jan.)

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Library Journal

This first book from McCourt is the work of the youngest of four brothers. His brothers Michael, Frank (Angela's Ashes), and Malachy (A Monk Swimming)-the subjects of two documentaries-are a big part of Alphie's own story, an extraordinary tale of an ordinary man. The book begins with Alphie's immigration to America in the 1960s, his frustrating travels between Canada and the United States, and his draft into the army. We are then taken back to the 1940s and 1950s, when Alphie was growing up in Limerick, Ireland. A hard-working Irish Catholic, the author writes of his formative years, his struggles with guilt, and life in a broken home. We come full circle to 1959, the year Alphie and his family took a Christmas trip to New York City, at which time he determined that he would not be returning home. Yet we follow Alphie as he does go back to Ireland, only to return to America again, his life reading like a fascinating roller coaster. Recommended for all public libraries.
—David L. Reynolds

Product Details

Sterling & Ross Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.01(d)

Meet the Author

The youngest of the McCourt brothers, after Frank, Malachy and Michael, Alphie McCourt grew up in Limerick, Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. in 1959. He has lived in Canada, Dublin, Ireland, and in California and has spent a good part of his life in the restaurant and bar business. His pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, The Villager (New York), The Limerick Leader and in Icons Magazine.

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A Long Stone's Throw 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
Who is Alphie McCourt? He is the youngest brother of Frank McCourt, Pulitzer prize winning author of Angela's Ashes and Malachy McCourt, a New York Times bestselling author.

Both older brothers have written memoirs detailing their impoverished upbringing in Limerick, Ireland, their emigration to the United States and the success they both found.

I listened to this in audio format. It was read by the author. It opens with-

"I often don't talk much. There is a rhythm to talk, a definite beat, sometimes my mind wanders and I lose the cadence of the conversation."

During the first disc I found McCourt's manner and rhythm of speaking to be slow and dull with little inflection. However, McCourt's Irish lilt is pleasant and I was soon caught up in his tale. He often breaks into song as well.

He begins telling his story when he is in his twenties and living in New York. The tale heads back to Ireland for childhood memories and then back to the U.S. Much of the childhood was something I had heard before, having read his brothers' memoirs.

I found some of the stories to be so detailed that I wondered if McCourt had kept comprehensive journals or diaries or he was embellishing his memories. Although interesting, I found some of the minutiae to be a bit boring at times.

Alphie McCourt struggled with alcohol through much of his adult life. He worked a variety of jobs, eventually finding success in the restaurant and bar business.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one evening. From the first sentence I was engaged in the story and wanted to see what was in store for this engaging story-teller. Amidst all the craziness and uncertainty of the past year this is the perfect antidote if you are feeling a bit down about circumstances.Alphie McCourt manages to make you find the humor in life's struggles. He also reminds you that you don't always go from point a to point b in life, but that it's the detours along the way that make life interesting.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alphie McCourt has taken up the continuation of the McCourt saga where his brothers left off. In A Long Stones Throw, he describes his adventures, some good and some not so good, in coming to a new land, new job and new way of life. He is pretty much on his own once he hits our shores, since the brothers have their own lives to work out. He makes his own way as he was always used to doing back in Limerick as there were few free handouts there. As always with the McCourt boys, the lure of a good time, generous amounts of brew and boistrous camraderie lead him into trouble, this time with the Immigration people.....thus becoming a citizen of Canada, while his brother and friends go merrily on their way waving farewell as they recross the border into the United States. On and on his stories go with such wit, and then again he will describe his childhood and squalid existence in Limerick. When this happens it makes your heart cry out for Alphie and his brothers. All in all, this was a most enjoyable read.....one of those books that you open up and read on until the next thing you realize, you have finished the book and only wish it was at least twice as long. I would highly recommend it.