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The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood (Paperback)

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"We wear Aran Sweaters and Lederhosen. We are forbidden from speaking English. We are trapped in a language war. We are the Speckled People." In one of the most original memoirs to emerge in years, Hugo Hamilton tells the haunting story of his German-Irish childhood in 1950s Dublin. His Gaelic-speaking, Irish nationalist father rules the home with tyranny, while his German-speaking mother rescues her children with cakes and stories of her own struggle against Nazi Germany. Out on the streets of Dublin is another country, where they are taunted as Nazis and subjected to a mock Nuremberg trial. Through the eyes of a child, this rare and shockingly honest book gradually makes sense of family, language, and identity, unlocking at last the secrets that his parents kept in the wardrobe.

Praise For…

“An astonishing achievement...a landmark in Irish nonfiction…a masterpiece.”
-Washington Post

“A fine reminder that there are many ways of being Irish.”
-New York Newsday

“Hamilton’s most successful book to date, after building up a fine reputation as a novelist.”
-Irish Voice

“Unlike most Irish memoirs, this one is devoid of sentimentality. Which doesn’t make it any the less heartrending. ”
-Philadelphia Inquirer

“A complex and layered story, intriguingly different from all those other Irish-childhood memoirs.”
-Orlando Sentinel

“Never clichéd, thanks largely to Hamilton’s frankly poetic language and masterful portait of childhood…a beautiful memoir.”
-Publishers Weekly

“An astonishing account, both delicate and strong, of great issues of twentieth-century Europe, modern Ireland, and family everywhere.”
-Nuala O'Faolain

“A wonderful, subtle, problematic and humane book....about Ireland...about a particular family...about alternatives and complexities anywhere.”
-Irish Times

“Evocative, agitating and inspiriting, Speckled People sticks up for diversity and principled dissent...extending the scope of Irish memoir.”

“A memoir of childhood that often reads like a craftily composed work of fiction.”
-Daily Telegraph (London)

“The most gripping book I’ve read in ages...a fascinating, disturbing and often very funny memoir.”
-Roddy Doyle

“A prize—delicate, achingly well-observed and wonderfully moving.”
-A.L. Kennedy

“A masterful piece of work—timely, inventive, provocative and perfectly weighted. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a classic.”
-Colum McCann

“A memoir of warmth and wisdom...tender and profound and, best of all, tells the truth. I loved it.”
-Patrick McCabe

“Full of several different kinds of passion with a real tragedy at its heart.”
-Margaret Forster

“A fine and timely book from an exquisitely gifted writer...beautiful, subtle, unflashy, perfectly realized and quite extraordinarily powerful.”
-Joseph O’Connor

“The long wait for this most talented novelist to cast his eye over his homeland has been worth it.”

“Hamilton’s style is an engaging mix of the salty and literary.”
-New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780007156634
ISBN-10: 0007156634
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: April 27th, 2004
Pages: 298
Language: English