Malachi McCourt

Life
Yngr. br. of Frank McCourt; author of A Monk Swimming (1998) which reached seventh place in American best-seller list; considered outrageous where Frank is restrained (NY Times).

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Works
Autobiography, A Monk Swimming (Hyperion [Disney] 1998); Do. (London: HarperCollins [2001]) [infra]; Singing My Him Song (London: HarperCollins 2001), 254pp.

Also, intro. to Voices of Ireland: Classic Writings of a Rich and Rare Land (q.d.).

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Quotations
A Monk Swimming (1998; HarperCollins 2001 Edn.): ‘Bombay, that ancient city is spectacular, teeming with life and squalor and thoroughly polluted by industry. The American Civil War helped bring it to the fore, when it became the main supplier of cotton for the world; before that, Bombay was H.Q. for the British East India Company, a mob of British thugs, who polluted and perverted India with drugs and terrorism, with the blessings of the reigning monarch and the House of Lords. To this day many Indians are afflicted with Angophilia, thinking they are worthless because of a dark skin, eternally damned to be W.O.G. and [trying] to emulate that squealing, betraying scum, Gunga Din.’ (p.197.)

Further (A Monk Swimming, 2001): ‘Most Irish songs are paeans to defeat. Always outnumbered, always heroic, noble and brave, our lads fought undaunted against the savage Sassenach, the Saxons, who, by treachery and weight of numbers did us in and crushed us. But then, had we been victorious earlier in our history, we would have produced masses of book-keepers, brokers, and bankers, instead of poets, writers singers, and musicians, not to mention warriors in the field. To make the good wine, it is necessary to crush the grapes, and the English crushed us Irish, hence the vintage wine of words.’ [Here he quotes “Ballad of Sean South” - a song accredited to Sean Costelloe in the Acknowledgements.] (p.127.)

Do.?: ‘I did not like being damp all the time. I did not like looking in windows of shops filled with meats, sweets, biscuits, bread, and my eyes bulging, the mouth aching for the chance to chew on something substantial. I did not like being eaten by fleas, gorging themselves on my bitter blood. I did not like having lice and nits in my hair, my arse, my armpits, my eyebrows.’ (Quoted in “Bookworm” [column] , in The Irish Times, 25 July 1998).

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