Fittingly, today marks the official publication for expat journalist David Monagan’s whose
IRELAND UNHINGED: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country releases from Council Oaks Books.
A rollicking and penetrating look at how the boom-and-bust of the last decade has impacted the very heart and soul of modern Ireland, this is a must-read for anyone with Irish roots or who appreciates the Irish spirit and experience. Monagan, who lives in Cork, is exhilerated by his promotional tour, which kicks off in New York City with an interview on the Lenny Lopate show this afternoon and a book party at an art gallery on the Upper East side this evening.
IRELAND UNHINGED has already garnered high praise from a heady cast of literati. Here’s a sampling:
“David Monagan’s charming, funny, sometimes harrowing take on modern Ireland is a pleasure to read. His approach is fond but not uncritical, and he avoids the cliches that mar so much writing about the Irish. Trust this fella – he knows his stuff.” –Bill Barich, author of A Pint of Plain and A Long Way Home: On the Trail of Steinbeck’s America
Monagan (Jaywalking with the Irish, 2004) spent a year in Dublin in the early 70s and was taken by the vividness of life in Ireland . In 2000, he and his family moved from their home in Connecticut to Cork, amid the country’s spectacular economic boom. Here the author looks back at the decade and the efforts he made to rediscover the “improvisational, wickedly fresh, and so very human” Ireland he knew. The process was a rediscovery because so much of what seemingly made Ireland special had been lost in the vulgar maw of the boom, “a litany of runaway materialism, instant gratification, increasing hooliganism, and excess of every stripe”. Though certainly there is much left standing in Ireland – the loss of rural pubs, however, is alarming – Monagan was blessed to find a little slice of Old Ireland he could afford. The author and his family purchased a house along the Blackwater River , in Ballyduff, full of gardens and sky, rolling hills and forest and warm, welcoming neighbors. Writing with an unhurried and considered hand, his wryness evident but checked by a brooding malaise, Monagan visits with landscapes both sullied and unsullied, in search of Ireland’s many silver tongues. There are great bar-side chats with anonymous pubsters, as well as a wonderfully anecdote-strewn day with author J.P. Donleavy.
A penetrating, droll embrace of an Ireland in the midst of tumult. –Kirkus Reviews
Ireland Unhinged is incisive, wry, and witty, but also coldly surgical, and it repeatedly and perfectly catches the zeitgeist of an Ireland hell-bent on self-destruction. Monagan sees it all: there is Mad Max stuff in here, but his American-in-Ireland’s analysis is also highly reasoned and grinning. Read it. –Patrick McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy
I loved Ireland Unhinged so much I almost ate it. It’s hilarious. It’s sad. It’s loving. David Monagan vividly reveals how slugs destroyed his garden, how crooked bankers and corrupt politicians destroyed Ireland’s economy and reduced the Celtic Tiger to a throw rug, and how spirituality fled in the face of rampant materialism. You don’t have to be Irish to dive into this grand book. –Malachy McCourt, author of A Monk Swimming