By Desmond Hogan
Following a crippling melancholy and institutionalization, the author Desmond wanders from his local Dublin round an more and more unrecognizable Europe, and so far as the southern usa, assembling a patchwork of small tales, conversations, amorous affairs, stories, regrets, and confrontations: “the labyrinth of reports of individuals whose lives you contact . . . in order that your brain turns into like a polychromatic Irish pub.” no matter if a sequence of tragic postcards, a cubist novel, or a memoir shorn of its connective tissue, A Farewell to Prague stands as Desmond Hogan’s maximum success: a catalog of the moments that justify a life—or shine a gentle on its vacancy.
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Extra info for A Farewell to Prague (Irish Literature Series)
Armies of prisoners coming out all of a sudden from the buildings opposite, in pale blue shirts and dark blue trousers, a kind of exhilaration about them, as if they were going on a pilgrimage. A woman once a beauty queen in Kerry, ‘the year Canvey Island flooded’, killed herself in that encampment in May and was buried with a wreath of shiny red roses in the shape of a vardo and horses. When she’d been laid out, near a rhino in a sailor suit, there was a candle at her head. I didn’t go back to the encampment after that.
A man said, doubtfully, to the sound of ‘Hotel California’. ‘Don’t mind where I’m buried as long as I get to Heaven,’ a salmon-faced Irishman said to me. He also told me about holidays with relatives in Rhyl, about the hereditary thatched cottage which had gone to ruin at home. ‘PG Tips always tastes better with you,’ a Polish lady informed me. She had many stories: how she’d hidden under the covers on the back of a truck and got to Berlin just after the war; how she’d stayed in a house in Berlin with some of the rooms missing; how she’d moved to a camp where the Germans, even in defeat, would only drink freshly ground coffee.
She broke off an engagement because of it but didn’t tell her boyfriend, and so left him broken-hearted and bewildered. Her doctor was in Mullingar: Dr Keenan, Church View. It was while she was attending him that she met my father. He recoiled when he heard about the tuberculosis, but after a few months proposed to her and they became engaged. He told her about the funeral of his mother in 1926, how it was one of the biggest for many years in East Galway, the blinds drawn on every private house in town as well as on businesses.
A Farewell to Prague (Irish Literature Series) by Desmond Hogan