Where is Ireland's soul? This is the question that surface time and again in Ireland Unhinged, a searching, sometimes scathing, often hilarious journey through a country that in the space of a few years has fallen from the dizzy heights of the 'bouncy-castle' boom to the bewildering depths of the crash. Ireland Unhinged is a story of reverse emigration to Cork City and then rural Waterford, from cosy US confines to the true Wild West of these last years. David Monagan's sharp eye pinpoints the excesses and absurdities of modern Ireland. But his real search is for the enduring essence of his adopted country, as revealed in his meetings with literary legends, with witches and monks, with property developers and gnomic farmers. Itis a riveting memoir of a family adapting to a strange land, and an unflinching portrait of Ireland today.
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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: the bouncy castles inflated on every delirious lawn; the madness of a Euro-funded motorway slicing through the ancient Hill of Tara; witches, priests, and ghost estates - characters beyond counting, not all good ones. There is Mad Max stuff in here, 'Aisy Rider in the Land of the Bouncy Castle', but this American-in-Ireland's analysis is also both highly reasoned and grinning - read it -
I altogether loved Ireland Unhinged. In its pages a transplanted Connecticut family moves to Ireland; then encounters begin with J.P. Donleavy, Seamus Heaney, witches, fairies, eccentrics, lunatics, plus a reunion of the famous band The Dubliners, which proves in Ireland that death is not always fatal. Ireland Unhinged is hilarious, it's sad, it's loving. David Monagan also writes about how crooked bankers and corrupt politicians 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 - one of the best books about Ireland in these last few years -
About the Author
A native of Connecticut and veteran journalist, David Monagan moved to Ireland with his wife and three children in 2000, settling in Cork City. He has written widely about his adopted country in various publications, including The Irish Times, the Sunday Independent, The Examiner, The Dubliner magazine, the Sunday Times and Forbes. His previous work of travel literature, Jaywalking with the Irish, was published in 2004 to great acclaim; Frank McCourt called it 'a hard, beautiful book . . . written with love . . . wit, charm and compassion. You won't find a better or truer depiction of Ireland.' He is also the author of Journey into the Heart (2007), a tour-de-force about charismatic medical pioneers.