by David Monagan
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2005
Jaywalking with the Irish by David Monagan, is like a properly drawn draught of Guinness.
The flavours and aromas of a bygone Ireland still linger and instill the modern society with its underlying richness, and permeate Jaywalking from the opening gambits ’til its last rhetorically posed question returning to one’s homeland…riveting roots.
The panache with which Mr. Monagan writes is as luscious as the forty shades of green and as sweet as the finest of Belgium chocolates. His fluid style, concise sublime humour and idiomatically chosen syntax brought a flood of memories of my summer study abroad in Dublin; the singing pubs, horseback riding at Macgillicudy’s Reeks, discovering Kilmurray’s Terence MacSweeney Museum; numerous explorations through ancient monastic ruins; fencing practice on the shores of Glendalough; and innumerable nights at the Abbey and Peacock Theatre. The most vivid recollections for me, were the illusions to the literary genius of Flann O’ Brien. As a student boarder, I was privileged to be housed in the home of the infamous Myles Na Gopleen.
A brilliant and intimate literary conversation, Jaywalking is a guidebook to both the tawdry side as well as the rich bounties of Irish culture and character. I’ve recommended it to all of my Irish and American friends. My son will be taking the requisite university graduation summer sojourn, Jaywalking will be his guide to Ireland’s enchanted places as Conmeragh’s Magic Road, with its scenic coums. Mr. Monagan’s fairy-tale telling is so universal…you don’t have to be Irish to feel the sultry seduction of Ireland.
Jaywalking with the Irish now resides between my copies of Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Sean O’Casey, Ulick O’Connor, James Joyce, and adjacent to my signed copy of The Third Policeman and At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien.
I look forward to another tome from Mr. Monagan, anon.
Copyright 2005 Judith D. Winters, content may not be used without express permission of the author