Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Just like the lines on paradise (If there is a paradise on earth, this is it!) is written for the incomparable beauty of Kashmir, the first dramatic lines of Pamuk’s The New Life, (I read a book and it changed my whole life), has indeed been written for Frank McCourt’s Trilogy.
When Angela’s Ashes came out in 1996, it became a huge hit and McCourt became an overnight sensation. The book is in the form of a memoir, recounting the author’s poverty ridden life in Limerick in Ireland. One would have thought that the recipe could not have been portrayed with such flair, unless it was a tear jerker. But McCourt wrote with an élan, looking at his miserable existence with sunny humor. The tragedy and the pathos of everyday life is portrayed in a language that has the stamp of unputdownability about it.
McCourt’s second book, ‘Tis is as absorbing, if not more. ‘Tis chronicles his life as a young man in New York. McCourt did not intend to write a trilogy, but after his first book turned out to be a hit, people started recognizing him on the streets of New York, they advised him to write a sequel to it, and then another one to chronicle his experiences of being a teacher. The third of the trilogy is aptly titled Teacher Man.
School life is eulogized by people later in their life, but a teacher’s life, and in New York at that, could at best be as dull as a paraplegic’s life, if not more so. McCourt made changes in his curriculum to make life easier for him and to escape the monotony of teaching adolescents not interested in the English language.
The irony is that Teacher man comes out as dull as McCourt’s teaching days were. Perhaps it was meant to be so. He does not delve into his personal life as much as he did in his earlier works, concentrating more on his hormone packed young students.
For a man whose one and only dream was to write just one book, McCourt has come a long way. If you have not read them, you have not read the best there is.