Monday, 20 July 2009

FRANK MCCOURT - R.I.P.



The lovely Frank McCourt died last night in New York. He was by all accounts a fantastic teacher and he was certainly a gifted writer. I'm glad to hear a high school in New York will be named after him.

If any of you haven't yet read his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes, do read it - it's hilarious and heartbreaking. Not many books make you laugh and cry but I guarantee this one will; whole scenes and characters from the book have stayed and stayed with me. Frank famously and wittily said about his Limerick upbringing: "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."

He signed our copy of the book in Kenny's in Galway when he was here promoting it. My fifteen-year-old son was about three when we met Frank and he held a sweet conversation with Cúán, asking him if he liked eating bacon, cabbage and spuds. Cúán said, emphatically, 'No! Chips!'

Sympathies to Frank's wife Ellen, his daughter, brother Malachy and all their family. A sad day for them and the literary world too.

Irish Times report here.

9 comments:

Patrick said...

The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Frank McCourt.

http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/mccourt/3115762

It's a respectful memorial to Frank and somewhere to pay tribute to his family's fortitude at this difficult time.

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WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thank you, Patrick.

OSLO said...

Completely agree with your assessment of Angela's Ashes, Nuala. It is a fantastic book and a legacy to be proud of.

Liz said...

It's sad he's gone...Angela's Ashes sure showed what the Celtic tiger had to rise from... and what mixed emotions between humour and downright hell.

Love the anecdote about your son and the chips...have a big weakness for chips meself!: )

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Proper chipper chips, mmmmm...

Rachel Fenton said...

I have some thoughts but they're in this blank space here...






...none of them seem right as words, suffice to say, may Frank's final sleep be as peaceful.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

A lovely thought, Rachel.

mcguigganjoseph said...

I have read all of Frank McCourt's memoirs and enjoyed them immensely. I think in recent years 'Angela's Ashes' has acquired greater social significance given the Ryan Reort findings etc. Of course, the great Nuala O'Faolain published 'Are You Somebody' around the same time and was also exposing the cruelty and repression of the 1950's in Ireland. I have created a tribute to both writers at www.inlovingmemory.ie A documentary called "Frank McCourt on Education" is being planned by the 'Campaign for Stuyvesant' a school fund raising group. Stuyvesant was the last high school Frank McCourt taught in for many years. You can see the details in the contribution by Neal Hurwitz on Frank's tribute.

Joe

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hello Joe
Thanks for that.
I re-read Nuala's memoir recently - fantastic. She had such an insight into the Irish - I really admired her too.
I will have a look at your site and look fwd to the documentary.
Go raibh maith agat!