Frank McCourt, Irish-American author of Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angela’s Ashes” died Sunday July 19th 2009 at the age of 78. Mr. McCourt, was being treated at a Manhattan hospice and was seriously ill with meningitis having been recently treated for melanoma, a form of Skin Cancer.
A public school teacher for 30 years and a jovial, well renowned New Yorker, Frank McCourt was catapulted to prominence and earned a global audience with the success of his book “Angela’s Ashes”. The novel is now translated into 30 languages and available in 25 countries. The book was later adapted for the big screen in 1999 and starred Emily Watson in the lead role as the mother and Robert Carlyle as the stereotypical Irish father.
“Angela’s Ashes” opening line prepares the reader for the “tale of woe” and also hints at the humour that is to follow;
“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood,”
Following the success of “Angela’s Ashes“, Frank went on to launch a sequel, “’Tis”, which narrates his life following his return to New York City. The final novel of the trilogy, “Teacher Man”, describes his teaching experiences commencing in 1958.
I will leave you with an exert from “Angela’s Ashes” to reflect upon.
“People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty, the shiftless loquacious father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests, bullying schoolmasters; the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years.”