Thomas Lynch: Booking Passage We Irish and Americans



For the blessed and lect to remain just that The haves and the have nots around the world maintain their status as victimizer and aggrieved on the narrowest of grounds of difference Race religion tribe caste class club color gender sexual preference denomination sect geography and politics Cannibal everything we are separates us fromveryone Mastered (The Enforcers, else p 195Lynch is an author and a poet whose livelihood is as a mortician He s a baby boomer with adult children divorced and remarried who lives in a suburb of Detroit Michigan He also inherited the family homestead in Moveen County Clare Ireland His great grandfather left Moveen for America during the famine years and never returned Lynch however returned in 1970 and developed a deep relationship with the remaining children of his great grandfather s brother Nora and Tommy were then in their seventies and the author in his 20 s The relationship that develops is woven through thessays in this bookI see that my review like the book wanders from thought to thought There is much in this book but this review is already longer than it needs to be Just get a copy and wade in and see what strikes you No need to rush through it Take some time and reflect along with the author Lovely set of Man, Son of Man essays that might variously be described as memoir social commentary and history Feels a bit rushed at thend when Lynch is mightily striving to create a literary trajectory that rolls himself into the grand Irish literary tradition A bit too much name dropping there but the sections dealing with his own rural Clare relatives are loving and clear Alter Ego eyed Absolutely fabulousssays on the human condition from the perspective of an Irish American writer who deals with death in families as a vocation The author also wrote The Undertaking which is a favorite of mine This one tells further stories from the author s life and of his Irish relations Likable nough and with a wonderful turn of phrase the books somehow lacked a focus or coherence It was written just after 911 which the author indicated had influenced the book to be Uidebook for those fellow travelers fellow pilgrims making their way through the complexities of their own lives and times.

I really njoyed Thomas Lynch s Booking Passage We Irish and Americans It was an Uncommon Wisdom entertaining and uite an interesting part memoir part cultural study with the most amazing book cover I have seen in awhileI came across this little book while holidaying in County Cork this week and was totally intrigued by the cover scene and the title and didn tven read the blurb to be honest and was uite surprised by how much I njoyed the Story and life of Tommy and Nora and their hardships and traditionsimage Take a walk around any of the lanes and boreens of rural Ireland and you will find many stone ruins of cottages and dwellings where stories of hard times and immigration are freuent and where the brother or sister left on the few acres of land to scratch out living while the remainder of the family took the boat to England or America while there is sadness in these stories there are great yarns to be told and I for one still njoy learning about these times and just spent a week in Cork driving around the Coastal areas and out to Whiddy Island to njoy the scenery and learn about the past times of the IslandersThe first half of this book was a 5 star read for me as I loved the arrival of the young American boy and leaning about his ancestors and Tommy and Nora s story as they fought to hold onto their home and land I loved the folklore of the area and many of the true stories were heartbreaking The second half of the book while interesting does tend to dwell on religion and other matters which just didn t interest me as muchOverall and interesting book and a great little find while browsing the bookshops of West Corkimage I liked this book that is not sure what it wants to be ssay memoir travel immigrant culture It has a bit of all these in it but for me it falls God Is in the Crowd easiest into the category ofssay While some of these Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard essays have a unifying them some sort of wander But I did not find the wandering off putting at all Injoyed finding out where Lynch s thoughts would next go This book starts with a piece labeled Prologue and titled Fit Start In thirty five years and dozens of return trips to Ireland Thomas Lynch has found a template for the larger world inside

Nd it begins on page xv But it is really the first The Matriarchs (The Family essay Then on page xxi is a piece labeled Introduction and called The Ethnography of Everyday Life Thisssay sets the tone for book In it we learn what the author wanted this book to be and how 911 changed that The book I first imagined something chatty and jaunty like a good night s talk Something that would find its market among Notes for the Everlost even a fraction of the fortysomemillion Americans alive today who trace their place back to the thirty two thousand suare mile island in the sea at the westernmost point of Europe was no longer possible Just as our sense of safety here protected by oceans and the globes largest arsenal of weapons and resources was forever shaken irreparably damaged by the horrors of that day so too was the sense thatthnicity is always and only uaint and benign Lost too was the luxury of isolation and purposeful ignorance of the larger world of woes a taste for which I d acuired in my protected suburban youth and overindulged throughout my adulthood fattening as Americans When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) especially do on our certainty that it will all be taken care of by whoever s in charge page xxxiv And the tug between what the author originally wanted and how 911 changed that appears throughout the book And that is not a bad thing My favoritessay in the book Great Hatred Little Room best reflects I think how the author was affected by 911 The genesis of the No Biggy! essay is the author finding himself stuck in Chicago as a result of a storm that diverted his flight home to Detroit to Chicago He writes of this desire to get home hisnvy of those who have already secured a rebooking and his interaction with a fellow traveler also waiting Into that Crush It! experience perhaps triggered by the never uiet news programs on the TVs in the airport he weaves his thinking about the post 911xperience One theme is how and why religious beliefs are used to justify beastly acts This leads to a discussion of otherness or how we separate ourselves from other human kinds Lynch notes that Religion is just one of the several asy ways. He small one the planet in the local parish Part memoir part cultural study Booking Passage is a brilliant often comedic

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Thomas Lynch has authored five collections of poetry one of stories and four books of essays including National Book Award Finalist The Undertaking He works as a funeral director in Milford Michigan and teaches at the Bear River Writer’s Conference