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An exuberant Angela's Ashes meets When Did You Last See Your Father?; an intoxicating memoir of Ireland and being Irish (and Anglo-Irish as well) from one of literature's most flamboyant characters. John Walsh is one of literature's party animals and ever-present commentators, and he writes with terrific wit and panache. The Falling Angels is a book about being Irish and about the way the Irish see the English and vice versa; and how it feels to fall in between. It opens with the death of Walsh's mother, 'the Widow of Oranmore', as he learns the Irish Way of Death: 'the rosaries and mass cards and lilies and amaryllises, the curious mixture of innocence and guile with which distant in-laws from Kerry and Dublin would coo and sigh and claim close friendship and act at being saints, the increasingly direct conversations that the neighbours (and I) had with Mother about death and what she could expect in Heaven. Above all, there was my mother's own struggle with her growing doubts about God and the afterlife - she who had once been the Pope's representative in Battersea.' Every sentence Walsh writes is witty, outrageous, illuminating and compelling; he explores the Irish identity in a warm, personal and confessional book that takes in issues of race, of place, of language, of song, of love, of religion and, crucially, the changing nature of Ireland as it wriggles out of the dwindling influence of the church towards a new sense of itself; and in England, Irish culture has a fashionable ascendency (Angela's Ashes, Father Ted) as indeed it always has had. Stuffed like a barmbrack (fruitcake to you English) with quotations from Heaney, MacNeice, the Pogues and Paul Muldoon, it will be intensely personal, lively rather than gloomy, full of literary and historical relish, and a completely glorious read.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006531227
ISBN-10: 0006531229
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Flamingo
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 20-Nov-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - John Walsh

JOHN WALSH was born in 1953 in London, and was educated at Exeter College, Oxford and University College, Dublin. He has been at various times features editor of the Evening Standard, literary editor of the Sunday Times and the editor of the Independent Magazine. He is currently Assistant Editor of the Independent. A prolific critic and cultural commentator, he has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Tribune, Q and Mojo. He was director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in 1997 and 1998 and presented Books & Company for three years on Radio Four, where he can still be heard on the popular quiz show The Write Stuff. He lives in Dulwich with the journalist Carolyn Hart and their three children.

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