Back Books Of The Month - Non Fiction Forward

July 2002

The Road to McCarthy

by Pete McCarthy

Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 28.00 USD / 20.00 UK; Lir Hodder, 432 pages

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'We discussed it over a few pints, and decided that the original McCarthy's must have been a nomadic tribe from North Africa who sometime in pre-history had, like the Celts, emigrated north to Ireland. Over Singapore noodles and a couple of bottles of wine we further deduced that the unaccustomed moistness of the Irish climate must have broken down their dark sun-beaten nomadic skin pigment, a kind of genetic rusting process that led inevitably over the centuries to red hair and freckles.'

Determined to pin down mythical tales of his own clan history and pursue other far-flung Irish connections to their illogical conclusions, Peter McCarthy is thrust into a world-wide adventure that reveals an unsettled and poignant history, while unearthing a good pint in the most unexpected of places. From the Holy Ground of Cork harbour via the Fried Breakfast Zone of Belfast Airport, he travels to Gibraltar and Morocco, searching for his hereditary Gaelic chief in the perplexingly un-Celtic casbah of Tangier. Journeying onwards to New York, Tasmania, Montana, and the tiny Caribbean island of Monserrat, he survives worrying confrontations with ornamental monkeys, an endangered species of goose, and a bar full of stratospherically drunken Glasgow Celtic supporters before finally reaching the remote Alaskan township of McCarthy and its population of just eighteen people, but a lot more bears.

McCarthy's previous book, McCarthy's Bar (available in paperback) an international bestseller, placed him in the forefront of contemporary travel writers. His unique combination of laugh-out-loud humour, heartfelt insights, and uncanny instinct for the unlikeliest situations, and the best bars, now lights the way for this joyous and hilarious journey.

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