Thursday, May 17, 2007

Las Cenizas de Angela

So, there I am, minding my own business in class this morning, when suddenly Luisa (all teachers' names changed here to protect the innocent) gets me full in her sights and informs me that she has been reading "un libro sobre Irlanda". I straighten up from my regular slouching position and give her the attention that this announcement requires. "Una historia muy triste". My heart sinks. I have a horrible feeling I know what's coming next.

"Las Cenizas de Angela"

Dear God. Has it come to this? I present myself, showered, clean-shaven, albeit a tad bleary-eyed, at 9 am on a daily basis (paying for the privilege of doing so, I might add), asking no more than to be initiated into the eternal mysteries of the subjunctive and the preterito pluscuamperfecto, only to be expected, yet again, to talk about Angela's fucking Ashes.

The plain people of Ireland: Here! Steady on! There's no call for that kind of language!
The management: This is my effing blog and I beg to effing differ. So just keep out of this one, OK?

Let me elaborate. When AfA was published, it enjoyed great popular success in the U.S. One consequence of this was that, for about a six-month period, I could barely go out of doors without having to field questions, or hear opinions about this particular "book". Eventually I was moved to record my own opinion about this "work", which I share with you here in full:


But the worst offender of the last twenty years has to be the uniquely meretricious drivel that constitutes "Angela's Ashes". Dishonest at every level, slimeball McCourt managed to parlay his mawkish maunderings to commercial success, presumably because the particular assortment of rainsodden clichés hawked in the book not only dovetails beautifully with the stereotypes lodged in the brain of every American of Irish descent, but also panders to the lummoxes' collective need to feel superior because they have managed to transcend their primitive, bog-soaked origins, escaping the grinding poverty imagined in the book, to achieve - what? Spiritual fulfilment in the split-level comfort of a Long Island ranch home? And Frankie the panderer misses not a beat, tailoring his mendacity to warp the portrayal of reality in just the way his audience likes. No native Irish reader, myself included, has anything but the deepest contempt for this particular exercise in literary prostitution and the cynical weasel responsible for it.

And there, I would very much like to leave the matter for now. Except to apologize to the good people of Long Island, who surely do not deserve the implied contempt in the paragraph above. I regret that particular gibe, but nothing else.

As internet thread slang puts it, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

1 comment:

Amy said...

I learned a new Spanish word. Thanks!