Frank McCourt's glorious childhood memoir, "Angela's Ashes," has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity. A tale of redemption, in which storytelling itself is the source of salvation, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the "Los Angeles Times" Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Rarely has a book so swiftly found its place on the literary landscape.
And now we have "'Tis," the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding.
When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in "Angela's Ashes" comes of age.
As Malcolm Jones said in his"Newsweek" review of "Angela's Ashes," "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's "'Tis" is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece.
Peter Collier Los Angeles Times Book Review 'Tis has those elements that made Angela's Ashes such a success -- the narrative brio, the fierce sympathy for human tic and torment, the intuitive feel for character and, above all, the love of language and that very Irish understanding that words are our only weapon in our long quarrel with God. Mary Ann Gwinn The Seattle Times McCourt establishes himself as a Dickens for our time, a writer who can peel the many layers of society like an onion and reveal the core. Gail Caldwell Boston Sunday Globe That magnificent voice is back in full, as captivating and soothing as an on-stage hypnotist. Regaling you from a bar stool or teacher's lectern, McCourt is utterly and always in charge of this tale....A sweet, sweet ode to memory: to the moment-to-moment experience of a real, then reimagined, life. Jackie Jones Bleecker The San Diego Union-Tribune 'Tis is, finally, a triumphant American story -- the triumph of a teacher...of a writer whose words we can't wait to read. Henry Kisor Chicago Sun-Times 'Tis a grand book. 'Tis indeed! Maureen Howard The New York Times Book Review 'Tis a success story, after all.