Twenty Stories of Contemporary Motherhood

Book - 1996
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Ciaran Carson's Last Night's Fun is a sparkling celebration of Irish music and life that is itself a literary performance of the highest order. Each chapter takes the title of a traditional tune, and as in a session played by brilliant improvising musicians, each tune leads into another, melodies and variations weaving in and out in a haze of talk and memory. Carson's inspired jumble of recording history, poetry, tall tales, and polemic captures the sound and vigor of a ruthlessly unsentimental music. A leading Irish poet who is also an accomplished flute player, he tells of his Belfast childhood, of learning to play music, of his travels in Ireland and America, of poteen, pub life, and the special pleasure taken in a well-made Fry "the morning after the night before". Loosely interpreted standards, as Carson points out, achieve a special kind of profundity and resonance - a tune can never be played the same way twice - so this is also a book about the poignancy of lost airs, about music as "a way of renegotiating lost time" and recognizing mortality.


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