So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has not money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy---exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling---does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors---yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
ANGELA'S ASHES, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic. As Mar Breasted, author of WHY SHOULD YOU DOUBT ME NOW, said: "Frank McCourt's book is deeply moving, for his searing story is true. No one has ever written about poverty or childhood like this. That Frank McCourt lives to tell the tale is amazing. That he could create out of such squalor and misery a flawless masterpiece is nothing short of miraculous."