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No News at Throat Lake
ISBN 0671785400 / 9780671785406 / 0-671-78540-0
Publisher Pocket Books
List price $23.95
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Despite talk of the economic "Celtic Tiger" and Dublin's growing clout as a high-tech center, the Ireland of the imagination is still the Ireland of village and bog, with 40 shades of green and pints of creamy Guinness for young and old alike. In No News at Trout Lake, Lawrence Donegan first journeys to the village of Creeslough in search of such stereotypes, but his book succeeds not by celebrating clichés but by exploring the complexity and contradictions beneath them.
Caught in the throes of a premature midlife crisis, Donegan, a London journalist, pulls up stakes and moves to an Irish village he once visited on holiday. The book chronicles his (mis)adventures there, from an abortive attempt at cattle farming (described here as "Quentin Tarantino's All Creatures Great and Small") through a series of exploits with the rambunctious editors of the Tirconaill Tribune, a feisty local paper. Donegan relates his experiences, which include a hunt for a whale tooth and a visit from Newt Gingrinch, and describes his companions in Creeslough with great intimacy and wit. This is certainly not the final word on "the Irish character," if such a thing even exists, but Donegan's story abounds with charming characters, Irish and otherwise, providing a meditation on small-town life that is at once universal and as unique as the Irish village it describes. --Andrew Nieland [via]