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The Clancys of Queens: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 11, 2016
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Praise for Tara Clancy’s THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS
“The Clancys of Queens overflows with buoyant exuberance…[and] much of its magic lies in its narrator’s frank, funny voice and evident passion for a good story…. [It’s] a winningly sunny tribute to the strong ties of kinship…[and] Clancy has the literary prowess to do it justice.”
“The oddities of Clancy’s upbringing make for some hilarious passages, but each chapter also forms a love letter—to her parents, Grandma Rosalie, Mark, her friends and lovers…. A breezy, funny memoir with a wonderful cast of characters and a terrific sense of place.”
“Affectionate [and] well-observed.”
“Clancy’s keen observational humor and authentic working-class New Yawkese survive the transition from stage to page as she crafts a love letter to the family that raised her…Clancy sketches these people with telling details and great affection…That Clancy’s personal chronicle is not the bright shiny output of the memoir industrial complex is somewhat of a relief; instead we get an anthropological report of a disappearing world of white, ethnic, working-class New Yorkers, and we hear from working-class women who are often silent in literature.”
“Hilarious, inspiring, and that rarest of animals—a memoir full of honest good cheer…. [Clancy] writes with the confidence of a practiced raconteur….[Her life is] exceptional in its realness and resilience, and tremendous in the telling.”
“Tara Clancy’s debut has it all—humor, fascinating characters, glimpses into radically different lifestyles, intergenerational strife and celebration, insightful Hamptons references—and hope, lotsa hope….This rich memoir reminds the reader that we are all many people.”
“Tara Clancy delivers a memoir with warmth, truth and chutzpah that makes The Clancys of Queens a fun read. She finds the heart and life that epitomize Queens in a way that will delight both New Yorkers and outsiders alike…Clancy not only does a beautiful job rendering the different stages on which she lived her childhood, but also excels at emphasizing the dissonance between them…Clancy offers a lighthearted look at growing up among the salt-of-the-earth in America, and The Clancys of Queens does what all good memoirs do: It begins from the unique situation of a life and fans out to reveal the feelings we all share.”
“An intimate coming-of-age chronicle...[from] a sharp-tongued, hip-hop-loving sneaker enthusiast whose relentless attempts at disrupting the tranquility of nearly every situation make up the bulk of the antics in the book's 21-year sprawl... The heart of Clancy’s thoroughly enjoyable narrative lies in her examination of life in the spaces between social classes, and the threads of humanity shared equally by the local pothead high schoolers, antique-collection Hamptons businessmen, and the Irish-American cops of New York City.”
“In this laugh-out-loud memoir…Clancy’s writing crackles with wit and candor…. As Clancy whirls with feverish tomboy energy from one escapade to the next, she gives a fantastically vivid view into her many worlds.”
“Clancy's story will strike a nerve…funny and touching.”
“The fierce voices of working class women are too often inaudible in our top-down social economy, but when Tara Clancy breaks through, she dazzles us with authenticity, hilarity, and insight. The relentless honesty of her book will capture your heart.”
—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
“This memoir is blessed by a narrating voice of such vivid originality the reader cannot help but relish the life it details.”
—Vivian Gornick, author of The Odd Woman and the City
“Real people’s stories are more interesting than fiction because real American life is full of weird connections, from city to country, from Queens to Montana, from high-class to low-class, from straight world to underworld. Ms. Clancy’s rambunctious memoir is a buster of artificial barriers. She goes global, widening the mind. Her setting—the Byzantium of Queens—is the place to do it. I love this memoir for its brash heroine, her bracing voice, her love of her father, her unquiet soul, and the social history she gives of a violent, energetic, fast-evolving world—which is bigger than most people can imagine.”
—Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life
“Tara Clancy's freewheeling memoir is a refreshing look at New York City, one that crosses many bridges: the ones between boroughs and the ones between social classes. The Clancys of Queens is one woman's story, but it also captures the vitality and sense of possibility of the city.”
—Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them
“Tara Clancy is my new favorite bad ass. The Clancys of Queens is a hilarious love letter to my favorite city and to working class families everywhere.”
—Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Between Riverside and Crazy
“I’d been introduced to Tara Clancy by her stories on The Moth, but I was innocent of the joys of her prose. In The Clancys of Queens, indelible moments tumble upon moments even more memorable until they form a blissful cascade as she recounts a New York City childhood that teeters from hardscrabble to posh. I defy you not smile for the length of this book! I loved it.”
—Jon Cryer, actor and author of So That Happened
About the Author
Tara Clancy's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, The New York Times Magazine, and The Rumpus. She has told several stories on The Moth Radio Hour, and has hosted their live shows in New York City and throughout the country. Her stories have also been featured on NPR’s Snap Judgment, Risk! and The Story Collider, among other programs. Tara was born and raised in Queens, and now lives in Manhattan with her wife and two sons. This is her first book.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Clancy's writing is colorful -- the 1980s of her childhood come to vivid life, as do each of the characters in her life, especially her indomitable grandmother, who barks orders and protects her linoleum kitchen floor as if it were Italian marble. "Watch with my linoleum!" she'd yell at Tara if she came skipping into the kitchen.
I was enchanted by Ms. Clancy's story for quite a while, but as with anyone who has spent time with an overactive child, I began to wear out. She devotes an entire chapter to her frenetic antics in the back seat of the limo sent to collect her from her father's boat shed to the Hampton estate. The raucous family gatherings of her mother's Italian family remind me of my spouse's raucous Irish family gatherings -- occasions during which I plot my escape pretty soon after I arrive. The narrative is stuffed to the gills with name brand references, which do anchor the story in its time but quickly tip over into excess. "He bought himself a white Members Only jacket, a pair of dark-tinted aviator Carrera sunglasses the size of ski goggles, the very latest nylon Nikes with the saw-blade soles, and a brand-new black Chrysler Laser hatchback that talked," she writes of her father.
But what really had me closing the book before its conclusion is Ms. Clancy's constant use of profanity. It's one thing when it's used in dialog, but when it litters the book from one page to the next as part of the author's writing style, I become frustrated. It's a lazy way to try to inject emphasis into a sentence. Write a better sentence! I don't want to hear it in my day-to-day interactions with people, and I certainly find it no more appealing in print.
Parts of her life and writing can be uncouth and rude, but that is and seems to be a part of her life and the writing is in that style. She picks up her perceptions on life from all of those around her.
Those who enjoy a memoir of a New Yorker will enjoy this.