The extraordinary memoir of an Irish matriarch - the Angela of ANGELA'S ASHES
When seventy-year-old Maura Murphy discovered she had cancer, she left her husband of fifty years and started writing her memoirs. Born 'chronically ugly and as cross as a briar' into a poor rural homestead in 1920s Ireland, Maura lived much of her adult life in England, where she raised nine children and fought to keep together a family ravaged by poverty and alcohol. The voice of a silent generation of an immigrant-Irish underclass, Maura Murphy's tough and remarkable life is a compellingly written account of struggle and survival like no other. With all the immediacy and impact of Frank McCourt's prize-winning ANGELA'S ASHES, Maura's voice is feisty, funny and fearless. And she needed to be all those things to survive an extraordinary series of privations and abuses. Her story is compelling and upbeat despite everything.
What makes it all bearable is the stubborn optimism of Murphy's narrative voice and her finally prevailing over circumstance and social limitations - Booklist
The story of a life lived like that of so many other Irish women - Buffalo News
One of the most gripping memoirs I have ever read. The dialogue is authentic and the pace is fast and engaging. Irish family members have been done to death, but I'll make an exception for this one - Irish Voice
Lovely memoir of a roving life, full of dread and great affection. The author creates a deeply atmospheric world, hard but vital - Kirkus Reviews
Murphy's skillful storytelling and optimistic spirit give even the grimmest moments of her difficult life story levity in this hopeful, spunky sister to Angela's Ashes - Publishing News
Maura Murphy was born in Clonmore, County Offaly in 1928. She left school when she was 14 with 'no qualifications and fewer prospects'. She worked as a domestic servant in various houses in Dublin until she met and married John Murphy, a soldier stationed at Portobello Barracks. The couple moved to Birmingham, England in 1959 where they reared nine children. They have eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.