Author: Ray Hamill:
Publisher: Outskirts Press:
This first book will be difficult to top. It is a series of lovely vignettes about an Irish man, Eamon McCann, born in the 1960’s, who moved from Ireland to Northern California. It is wonderfully humorous, extremely well-written in Keroac free verse style by a professional sports writer. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the stories. The author’s grasp of contemporary society and the foibles of the Irish are right on.
Eamon is doubtless the alter ego of the author; although he disclaims that the stories might be fictional. It matters not.
I don’t mean to stereotype but if so, so be it. Nor do I mean to be prejudiced, although since prejudice is unconscious, I wouldn’t know about it. Bias, which requires conscious thought is not my bag. My experience comes from my dealings with many Irish men. We all have similar characteristics, of course, and nobody is all one way but we are all a mixture. Typing though does have a positive aspect.
1. The fun loving guy—he likes to sing rather than fight. A lover.
2. The mean son of a bitch—after the first drink, he looks for a fight. Stay away from this guy. He got hit on the head one too many times by his Da and he is dangerous.
3. The slime bag—The Jesuit trained lawyers I have met. Lies, half-truths, prevarication, fraud, obfuscation are the characteristics.
4. The intellectual—the poet, the rebel, James Joyce type. Very troubled people who quest for the meaning of life, the meaning of which is unknowable.
Certainly, Eamon comes within the fun loving category with a twist of the
intellectual—the see-er, the chronicler. This is true philosophical stuff, imaginative stuff, great story telling, and tongue in cheek humor.
His story about the children in Ireland who built and launched a raft in the sea is a classic. The adventure probably was the basis for Murphy’s law.
He also points to what I call the “frivolous” society:
“We fight over religion, over greed, over ideological nonsense and over girls. We kill each other sometimes merely because we can. We have invented numerous drugs to give you a hard on or to grow your hair or perhaps even both at the same time, yet half the fuckin world goes to bed hungry at night and suffering from all kinds of curable diseases. A small handful of people have all the money in the world, and most of the rest of us waste our lives trying to figure out a way to join them, and most of them aren’t even that happy in the first place.”
Belly laughs are hard to come by these days. They say laughter is the best
medicine. So go out and buy the book and save time in Hell. I gave it 5 stars and I’m an old grouch