For those with a terrible thirst for foamy Hibernian whimsy.



A jolly journalist takes a junket from Down Under to the Emerald Isle in order to acquire a taste for the beverage he describes as “liquid coal.”

Despite this poor first impression, Australian McHugh quickly became proficient in drinking Guinness as he backpacked around Ireland with his girlfriend “Twidkiwodm” (short for “the-woman-I-didn’t-know-I-would-one-day-marry,” whose real name is Michelle). From Dublin, they toured the costal towns of Kilarney, Dingle, Tralee and Tarbet. Then northward they marched to Donegal and Dungloe, progressing from the initial dreadful pint to regular, happy imbibing with many colorful denizens of all the best pubs. Innocent fun was had as the couple wandered through Gaelic tourist traps and cozy hostels, paying due obeisance to St. Patrick, Yeats and a local dolphin. Under the careful observation of Twidkiwodm, McHugh also admired the local girls. By bus, bike, foot and outstretched thumb they went, making the rounds with fellow foreign trekkers and local Pats and Sheilas. The gregarious and rowdy natives, as transcribed here, all spoke in a thick vaudeville brogue, reverting to English for a line or two only on rare occasions. Gargling the black stuff while mucking around Ireland is not a new subject (see Peter Biddlecombe’s Ireland: In a Glass of Its Own, 2006), but this book is heady and goes down smoothly.

For those with a terrible thirst for foamy Hibernian whimsy.

Pub Date: March 6, 2007

ISBN: 0-312-36366-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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