With Angela's Ashes, he has used the storytelling gifts he inherited from his father to write a book that redeems the pain of his early years with wit and compassion and grace. He has written a book that stands with The Liars Club by Mary Karr and Andre Aciman's Out of Egypt as a classic modern memoir ... There is not a trace of bitterness or resentment in Angela's Ashes, though there is plenty a less generous writer might well be judgmental about ... Writing in prose that's pictorial and tactile, lyrical but streetwise, Mr. McCourt does for the town of Limerick what the young Joyce did for Dublin: he conjures the place for us with such intimacy that we feel we've walked its streets and crawled its pubs ... The reader of this stunning memoir can only hope that Mr. McCourt will set down the story of his subsequent adventures in America in another book.
This memoir is an instant classic of the genre -- all the more remarkable for being the 66-year-old McCourt's first book ... Angela's Ashes confirms the worst old stereotypes about the Irish, portraying them as drunken, sentimental, bigoted, bloody-minded dreamers, repressed sexually and oppressed politically, nursing ancient grievances while their children (their far-too-many children) go hungry. It confirms the stereotypes at the same time that it transcends them through the sharpness and precision of McCourt's observation and the wit and beauty of his prose ... This memoir is good enough to be the capstone of a distinguished writing career; let's hope that it is only the beginning of Frank McCourt's.
A powerful, exquisitely written debut, a recollection of the author's miserable childhood in the slums of Limerick, Ireland, during the Depression and World War II ... He describes, not without humor, scenes of hunger, illness, filth, and deprivation that would have given Dickens pause ... An extraordinary work in every way. McCourt magically retrieves love, dignity, and humor from a childhood of hunger, loss and pain.