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No News at Throat Lake Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Despite talk of the economic "Celtic Tiger" and Dublin's growing clout as a high-tech center, the Ireland of the imagination is still the Ireland of village and bog, with 40 shades of green and pints of creamy Guinness for young and old alike. In No News at Trout Lake, Lawrence Donegan first journeys to the village of Creeslough in search of such stereotypes, but his book succeeds not by celebrating clichés but by exploring the complexity and contradictions beneath them.

Caught in the throes of a premature midlife crisis, Donegan, a London journalist, pulls up stakes and moves to an Irish village he once visited on holiday. The book chronicles his (mis)adventures there, from an abortive attempt at cattle farming (described here as "Quentin Tarantino's All Creatures Great and Small") through a series of exploits with the rambunctious editors of the Tirconaill Tribune, a feisty local paper. Donegan relates his experiences, which include a hunt for a whale tooth and a visit from Newt Gingrinch, and describes his companions in Creeslough with great intimacy and wit. This is certainly not the final word on "the Irish character," if such a thing even exists, but Donegan's story abounds with charming characters, Irish and otherwise, providing a meditation on small-town life that is at once universal and as unique as the Irish village it describes. --Andrew Nieland

From Publishers Weekly

After spending a holiday in the small village of Creeslough, Ireland, Donegan decides to escape the madness of urban life and move there. Leaving behind urban comforts of London and a decade of employment at his dream job reporting for the Guardian, Donegan tries his luck working as a farmhand before quickly moving on to beg for--and land--a job at the Tirconaill Tribune, an opinionated community paper. Donegan clearly appreciates his co-workers, as well as the opportunity to be closely involved again in the grind of newspaper publishing (he does occasionally feel queasy about reporting on beached whale carcasses and geriatric pop singers while watching former Guardian co-workers cover top international stories). Although he joins a local Gaelic soccer team and tries to make new friends, Donegan does not relinquish all his big-city ambitions--he hopes to make a name for himself uncovering a murder mystery involving American heiress Doris Duke (aka "The Richest Girl in the World") and her butler, a Creeslough native named Bernard Lafferty. While this lead never does pan out, Donegan's account of his eight-month stint at the Tribune is peppered with intelligent commentary on local history and politics and rural vs. urban living. Happily, Donegan's sharp, self-deprecating sense of humor and keen wit (his public, poetic "eulogy" on the anniversary of Princess Diana's death and his account of a visit by Newt Gingrich seeking a nonexistent Irish pedigree are particularly amusing) prevent the narrative from dissolving into a collection of soggy sketches about eccentric locals. (Apr.) FYI: During the 1980s, Donegan played in the pop band Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671785400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671785406
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Donegan does a superb job of capturing the spirit of life in a rural Donegal town. His descriptions of the behaviors of the local residents provides the reader with a superb understanding of the pace of life in Donegal. The culture as well as the cynical wit of the Irish come across beautifully. I laughed out loud at Donegan's narrative around the Mary of Dungloe festival and his encounter with Newt Gingrich. It was a very easy read and I was disappointed to reach the conclusion. Donegan beautifully captures the Irish art of total disregard for political correctness and expressing things exactly as they are perceived. A highly recommended read for those who don't take life too seriously. Don't let the title put you off...
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Format: Hardcover
I think most people who read a great deal secretly hope to write, I freely admit I am guilty. And so when I read a razor sharp piece of writing that appears to have been written with as much ease as skill, it's a love hate reaction.
Mr. Donegan has senses that are like those we all posses, however that's where the similarity ends. A person hears a phrase spoken, the Author hears it with every possible variation his built in thesaurus provides. We all see an event, he matches, contrasts, or finds a bit of irony, with an infinite number of other events. You do not want to be the subject his attention is focused upon when his wit is at work. He's hyper perceptive, quick and ruthless. Think of a spinning propeller; now walk through it.
A poem appears in a paper he writes for, his comment, "I've never seen such a lethal combination of bad poetry and bad taste. It was the anniversary of her death, after all. As soon as I saw it in the Tirconaill Tribune I wished I had never written it". Sure.
He went to cover an event where the tension between Catholic and Protestant were taught to say the least. Ever resourceful he "bought a copy of The Illustrated Orange Song Book at a street stall (I wanted to learn the words to "The Pope's A Darkie" just in case I ever needed to ingratiate myself with the Reverend Ian Paisly". In the flow of his narrative it is brilliantly placed and timed. I know my repeating it will anger some. I would suggest they lighten up, wretched pun not intended.
This is a memoir of a time spent working for a small newspaper in an even smaller Irish town. It's 90% laugh out loud funny, and perhaps 10% dark, perceptive, social satire. You will enjoy every page, and will hate when it ends.
I cannot wait to see Paul Newman play the Priest that saved an island. It will be his next Oscar.
Brilliant read!
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Format: Hardcover
Donegan's "No News At Throat Lake" has all the charm of a Bill Forsythe movie ("Local Hero") and all the adventure of the Travel Channel. In recounting his move from cosmopolitan London to rural Ireland, he embarks on the sort of journey we would like to take if we ever decided to just "do it." He negotiates the locals and even has some degree of success (though dating is just too elusive for him in Ireland). He gets a job with the local paper that is part Petticoat Junction and "All the President's Men." In short, he has one terrific adventure, and I, for one, am glad he put it all in this little book and shared with the rest of the class. It did wonders for my spirit.
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Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed "No News from Throat Lake" for its wit and entertainment value. Donegan's life journey--from Scottish housing project to minor Pop Star to Guardian journalist to the boondock Irish village of Creeslough is a fascinating one.
Donegan is at his best when he is most self-deprecating. This ability to laugh at himself combined with his outsider status in Creeslough reminded me a bit of the James Herriot books. In fact, after a short stint as a farm-hand, in which he is witnesses a particularily gruesome round of calf de-horning, Donegan muses that he has experienced Quentin Tarantino's version of "All Creatures Great and Small." Donegan is a James Herriot updated for the millenium: hipper, more cynical and with more existential angst.
This is a rambling if charming narrative. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Donegan mentions the girlfriend he has left behind in London, but then no discussion of her is made until the end of the book, and then with little emotional investment or resolution.. If only he could have somehow woven this romance into the conclusion of "No News," it would have truly paralleled "All Creatures." As it is, the climax is a bit underwhelming. Additionally, although the people Donegan meets are entertaining, often eccentric souls, they never take on the fully-fleshed feeling that one gets when Herriot introduces us to Siegfried and Tristan Farnon. Still, Donegan is a clever, funny writer and "No News" never failed to make me smile.
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By A Customer on September 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Written in a spare, journalistic style, "No News" is easy to read and fun. What do Newt Gingrich, Meryl Streep and gypsies have in common? and what are they doing in a tiny Irish town? A refreshing change from the current "I bought a really great house in another country" genre, its more real-"I rented a dump because it seemed like a good idea". The ending will surprise you.
A great companion to: "Round Ireland with a Fridge" and "Oh Come Ye Back to Ireland-Our First Year in County Clare".
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