Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish Americaby Joseph O'Connor
Award-winning novelist and journalist Joseph O'Connor's passion for America began during his childhood holidays in the beautiful west of Ireland wilderness of Connemara, populated by Gaelic speakers, sheep, and American tourists. His growing love affair with all things American inspired the adventure that "Sweet Liberty" chronicles: a tour across the United States… See more details below
Award-winning novelist and journalist Joseph O'Connor's passion for America began during his childhood holidays in the beautiful west of Ireland wilderness of Connemara, populated by Gaelic speakers, sheep, and American tourists. His growing love affair with all things American inspired the adventure that "Sweet Liberty" chronicles: a tour across the United States to visit nine towns called Dublin, with stops at the great cities and landmarks in between, including New York, Las Vegas, Graceland, and the Grand Canyon. Along the way, he wittily deconstructs the legends of a whole pantheon of Irish-American heroes, from John F. Kennedy to Billy the Kid. Joe offers illuminating insight into the musicological culture of America, revealing its many immigrant influences, not least when he ponders Elvis' Irish roots and uncovers the secret relationship between William Butler Yeats and The Everly Brothers. Hilarious, poignant and unforgettable, "Sweet Liberty" transcends the usual boundaries of travel writing as it explores today's social concerns, and celebrates the breathtaking diversity of the Irish influence on America.
More often than not, O'Connor (whose 1992 novel Cowboys and Indians was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize) found few traces of Irish origins in the American Dublins; one was named after two colonial inns that were joined together and named "Double-inns." He did discover an Irish-American population consumed with sentiment for the imagined old country, a vision at odds in many ways with current realities in the Irish republic. His obvious narrative skills are somewhat dissipated by the inclusion of brief, rather formulaic descriptions of some of the sites he visited. The writing is further marred by some severely strained metaphorsperhaps the result of attempts to satisfy a reader's expectation of proverbial Irish wit. O'Connor lampoons some of the dark elements of American culture, ranging from the antebellum South to rip-off cabbies, from Boston slums, porn shops, and movies to social corrosion and the butchery of the English language, from school security guards with metal detectors to greasy fast-food joints. He admires our freedom of religion in contrast to Ireland's religious/political warfare, and comments persuasively on the influence of Irish music on American country ballads. O'Connor seems never far from a pub in his boozy travels, and these visits are invariably followed by fierce morning hangovers. He gives the impression of searching too desperately for the fresh, the odd, and the hilarious.
Little that is startling or new.
– Irish Times
- Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.88(w) x 8.89(h) x 0.96(d)
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