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The Poor Mouth: Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life (Irish Literature) Paperback – March 1, 1996
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From Library Journal
O'Brien's wicked satire on the life of Irish peasant Bonaparte O'Coonassa was published in Gaelic in 1941 and translated into English in 1964. This edition contains illustrations by Ralph Steadman. A good companion to the MacNamara novel reviewed above.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
O'Brien was one of the comic geniuses of the 20th century... The Poor Mouth is wildly funny and Steadman's drawings catch the spirit.(Boston Globe)
A real writer, with the true comic spirit.(James Joyce)
The Poor Mouth sent me into fits of giddiness.(James Finn Garner, author of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories)
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Top customer reviews
The outside world, in the form of city people whose first language is English, is just trouble. It might take the form of 'friends' of the Gaelic language who descend on them with puzzling and degrading demands, or of brutal schoolmasters with no Gaelic and no patience, or the law, which can pluck someone away and lock him up for years without justification, or even explanation.
And always, there are the rain and the potatoes.
The book has some funny scenes, I suppose, although the humor would be called black if the whole atmosphere were not so gray. From my distance and ignorance I can imagine that the effect of this book, once it was translated, was to embarrass all of Ireland about its Gaeltacht. The misery of the people seems unrelieved, and their reason for being but to preserve the Gaelic heritage in a kind of cultural zoo. I don't know the current status of that area, nor the effect the book had, but I am curious.
The book takes place in an area not far from the Yeats country. In the Mythologies and the fairy tale collection, the peasantry seem not so bad off as here. I think I prefer Yeats.