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, thoughts, 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 fulfillment: a catalog of the moments that justify a life—or shine a mild on its vacancy.
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Extra info for A Farewell to Prague (Irish Literature Series)
On the bus out of Columbus a black man had his arms around a box which contained his belongings, the words ‘Milwaukee’s Best’ on the side of it, a string tied around the box, holding his belongings down. Someone in the front of the bus said the name ‘Raymond’ in conversation and a woman at the back started shouting: ‘Raymond. Raymond. ’ Georgia: the oak trees and poplars had turned gold, the sweet gums red, the maples electric scarlet; yellow ribbons around cypress trees and post oaks. Darkness in the bus, a last bit of the sunset reflected on a window and the headlights of cars lighting up faces.
47 In a pub in Lewisham in July a young singer from Belfast in a red shirt, his hair the colour of sun on chestnuts, a pendant around his neck and a few fake poppies hanging by his thigh, sang: As he was marching the streets of Derry I hope he marched up right manfully Being much more like a commanding officer Than a man to die upon the gallows tree. A kind of rallying spirit, an unwillingness to lie down, an invocation of Ireland – a madonna with blue veil and saffron belt, country women with coil on top of their heads coming in for mass on Sundays – the ability, as if from a wayside Goddess, to immure yourself and look back, picking up the sequence of the last year.
Each way I turned they would confront me, sometimes mockingly. Though I did not realize it for many years I had to be away from them. It is an odd place, California. I’ll fly now. 14 August 1987. An old Italian stands to attention in front of the Child Jesus of Prague. There are sea shells and jewels at the feet of the child and yellow irises mixed with gypsophila in front of him; what could be riverine flowers, yellow flag, hornwort, the bogbean flower, which were always a relief for a lone and stellar cormorant.
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