Exile on Bridge Street details teenage Irish immigrant Liam Garrity's struggle to adulthood in pre-Prohibition Brooklyn. Back home, Ireland's fight for its own independence erupts with the 1916 Easter Rising. The fate of Garrity's father, an Irish rebel, is unknown, which leaves his mother and two sisters vulnerable on the family farm as British troops swarm, seeking reprisals. Garrity must organize their departure to New York immediately. In Brooklyn, Garrity is adopted by Dinny Meehan, leader of a longshoremen gang based in an “Irishtown” saloon under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Meehan vows to help Garrity and his family. But just as Ireland struggles for independence, Garrity faces great obstacles in his own coming of age on the violent Brooklyn waterfront. World War I, the Spanish Influenza, the temperance movement, the rise of Italian organized crime, police, unions and shipping and dock companies all target the Brooklyn Irish gang and threaten Garrity’s chances at bringing his family to New York. When “Wild Bill” Lovett, one of the gang's dockbosses vies to take over, both Meehan and Garrity face a fight for survival in New York City's brawling streets mirroring Ireland’s own fledgling independence movement.
Compelling writing by a master of historical fiction, as evidenced in the author’s critically-acclaimed prequel Light of the Diddicoy.
|Publisher:||Three Rooms Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Journalist/novelist Eamon Loingsigh has long held a great fascination for the history of Irish-Americans in New York City. His family emigrated from Ireland in the late nineteenth century, and his grandfather and great-grandfather ran a longshoreman’s saloon on Hudson Street in Manhattan from 1906 to the late 1970s. Loingsigh studied journalism at University of South Florida. He is the author of the novel Light of the Diddicoy (Volume I of the Auld Irishtown trilogy), Exile on Bridge Street (Volume II of the Auld Irishtown trilogy), the novella An Affair of Concoctions and the poetry collection, Love and Maladies, as well as numerous articles on Irish-American history. He lives in Brooklyn.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have just finished reading "Exile on Bridge Street" the second installment of the Auld Irishtown trilogy. The insights of the author, as he utilizes Auld Irishtown as a microcosm of the greater world and illustrating any American immigrants struggle are wonderful. As you read this book as well as its prequel "Light of the Diddicoy" you cannot help but realize that America's history is an immigrants history. Eamon shows us that we all have struggled to make our way here, all the while trying to hold onto our cultures while assimilating. The line between hero and villain often times depends on which side you are on, as we all fight to maintain identity and not get swallowed up into the interests of a privileged few. Great characters, moving scenes, and whether you are lucky enough to be of Irish descent or not this book and its predecessor do not disappoint.
A very old man, William Garrity, is narrating the struggles of his youth when he was sent all alone from Ireland to Brooklyn to find work and send for his mother and sisters. He is befriended by the leader of one of the Irish gangs battling for control of the Brooklyn waterfront in 1916. The voice is very Irish and the story compelling, violent, dense and heartbreaking, though it ends on a small note of hope. The community where he found himself was struggling, impoverished and still reeling, generations later, from the famine. The history is fascinating and, I’ve since learned, based on some real characters and events. I did not know this is the second book in a trilogy. I looked forward both to reading the first to fill in some missing pieces and to the publication of the last. I want to, to learn how he makes his way into adult life in America and what happens to some of the other characters. That is a strong compliment for any novel.