Skip to content
Paperback A Monk Swimming : A Memoir Book

ISBN: 0786884142

ISBN13: 9780786884148

A Monk Swimming : A Memoir

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

Save $15.20!
List Price $19.99

3 Available

Book Overview

Slapped with a libel suit after an appearance on a talk show, Malachy McCourt crows, "If they could only see me now in the slums of Limerick, a big shot, sued for a million. Bejesus, isn't America a great and wonderful country?" His older brother Frank's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Angela's Ashes , took its somber tone from the bleak atmosphere of those slums, while Malachy's boisterous recollections are fueled by his zestful appreciation for the...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


He was a charmer this Malachy McCourt. That soon becomes clear in his candid, hilarious, racy, I'll-go-you-one-better memoir A Monk Swimming (title drawn from the young Malachy's misunderstanding of the Hail Mary phrase "amongst women.") He was also self-congratulatory, allowing that a party wasn't complete "without my wit, my erudition, and my exuberance, not to mention presence." A prodigious drinker, womanizer, and gold smuggler, he was an angry young man, intermittently furious with God, his parents, the Catholic church, specifically Cardinal Spellman, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, all things British, and, at times, unsuspecting bystanders. Admittedly dedicated to self-gratifying pursuits, he writes, "Indulgence is mine...having been the victim of other people's ideas of sin, original and otherwise, from the time of birth." Mr. McCourt seems to have been fond of one person - Mr. McCourt. And so is the reader, perhaps because beneath the blarney and braggadocio is an unmitigated pain born of destitution and a longing for the father he sought but never found. Many are familiar with his poverty stricken childhood as traced in brother Frank McCourt's vaunted Angela's Ashes. Now, we hear Malachy's story of the years between 1950 and 1962, years spent and wasted on the streets and stages of New York City. After arriving in "the U.S.of A." at the age of 20, Mr. McCourt found work on the docks. He also discovered that one could avoid bills by stamping "Deceased" on the envelopes, and, that if he were entertaining enough, his bar glass was freely refilled. His ready way with words earned him some stage roles, plus a stint on the Jack Paar Show. This minor celebrity led to a partnership in the opening of an eastside saloon, "Malachy's," just around the corner from the Barbizon Hotel for Women, "a large building throbbing with post-pubescent sexuality." Soon, "Malachy's" habitues included Grace Kelly "generally accompanied by ugly, thuggish, beetle-browed types," Gig Young, Barbara Streisand, Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Mr. McCourt's soon to be "Jewish Presbyterian" wife, Linda Claire. A union so objectionable to his mother that she redevoted herself to Catholicism, and rendered a "poor old, shure, begorrah, close-to-the-grave, Irish mother act." Despite "the mother's" dramatic diatribe this marriage produced a son and daughter before ending in divorce. Upon taking his first "serious drink" at the age of 11, Mr. McCourt felt he was "nearly exploding with joy, with the rapture of freedom from the poverty of the world." Although he was never to feel that alcohol induced euphoria again, liquor was his constant companion. Besotted and burdened with a body vest holding gold bars he caromed to different points of the globe where he delivered his illicit booty then drank and whored the time away. He wandered "...self-pityingly through the streets, yearning for the company of the woman I loved, only because she didn't love me." A Mo

Audacious Audio Treat

Stunned at the opening expletives, I was prepared to dislike listening to this in my car. Since I don't travel long distances, it took me awhile to hear this abridged 3-hour version, but I savored every syllable.(Found myself running back to the store just for an excuse to listen.)His brogue is delightful, his self-depricating, roguish tales "picaresque" and raucously funny, his masterful use of the language nothing short of inspirational. I am now ordering the book so I can study his lilting Irish phraseology and colorful vocabulary (no, not the curse words) and am looking forward to hearing the unabridged tape for another round of laughing out loud while driving. (What must the other drivers think?)

My small soapbox.

I am really shocked to read the other reviews of this book. Most of you are judging the PERSON in the story, NOT the actual book. I think that it speaks a lot for the author that people were so moved, even if to hatred, by his words and his story. If I were Malachy I would delight in these strong responses! And please, PLEASE remember, this is NOT supposed to be Angela's Ashes. How awful it is to be constantly compared to your sibling by complete strangers who think they know it all!!Read the book for yourselves rather than basing your opinion on all of ours! Take it out of your library if you're afraid of wasting money!


I enjoyed reading this book very much. Malachy McCourt tells a fascinating story. He does it with humor, and he does it wonderfully. I can only hope that he will continue where he left off.


A refreshing change from my life is miserable because bios that have popped up lately. Here is a man who had a tough life but knows you can entertain an audience much more by making them laugh.With several tales about his life with john Barrleycorn Mccourt shows that life truly is what you make of it. Of Course it suffers by comparison to his brothers book. In fact the only thing they have in common is they are written on paper, but it is an enjoyable story about a rogue who makes no appligise for his mistake he only admits them
Copyright © 2020 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured