American writer Peter Money studied abroad in Dublin in the 1980s. His debut novel, "Oh When the Saints," is inspired by his time there and will especially delight anyone who spent time in Ireland as a student.
Acclaimed Vermont poet Peter Money studied abroad in Ireland in his early 20s. His debut novel, "Oh When the Saints" from Liberties Press in Dublin, is a coming of age story about Denny, a visiting student in Ireland, and celebrates his time abroad with local friends, including a soldier in the Irish Army, a punk civil servant, an apprentice librarian.
The young protagonist and his friends are growing up, perhaps reluctantly. Their dreams and wishes are still the things of childhood and adolescence.
"Oh When the Saints" is akin to a “Walkabout” and a “longer ‘Araby’” (James Joyce’s short story from Dubliners), conjuring deep memories about personal emancipation brought on by traveling, being new to a strange country, living with roommates, and having to say goodbye.
Money’s ancestor, William Richie, was born in Belfast in the 1790s. He came to America around 1804. Money decided to return to his ancestor's home island to study in the 1980s, and it was there, as a 20-year-old student abroad, that Money declared he would become a writer.
He was living in Rathmines, Dublin, at the time. Shortly thereafter, Money traveled around the world as a writer. In Australia, he saw "Whatever Happened To Kerouac", a film about the Beat writer Jack Kerouac. On the way back to the States from Australia, he read Kerouac’s travel novel, "Lonesome Traveler". By incredible chance, once home, Peter studied with the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg for two years in New York.
Now, after several books of poetry and teaching assignments, Money performs with the poetry and music band Los Lorcas, named for Frederico Garcia Lorca. This is his first official novel (he has previously published a novella, "Che").
"Oh When the Saints" was launched on May 15 at Gutter Bookshop in Dublin's Temple Bar.
Advance praise includes:
“Hyper-aware Denny, a young American in Dublin, makes his tentative way towards adulthood with a supporting cast of oddball friends. Denny hopes for a big love, the ‘girl named Ireland’. Akin to a Joycean ramble, Oh When the Saints follows a sensitive boy on the reluctant verge of manhood, who cannot help endlessly analysing his own - and others' - place in the stream of life. His heart is ‘a sack of air’ until he meets a trainee librarian with ambitions to be wild. This is a strange, elliptical novel of ideas, told in punchy, poetic prose; Peter Money's is a vivid, fresh and welcome voice.”
—Nuala O'Connor, author of Joyride to Jupiter
“Young Denny follows sounds and sensations in the hope of a bright future. A great city clutter has to be negotiated. Finding love is a small miracle. Keeping his eye to the kaleidoscope, Peter Money writes with artistry and invention.”
—Philip Davison, author of Eureka Dunes
“To say Peter Money's Oh When The Saints is beautifully written doesn't give this multi-faced, humane, and profoundly moving book justice. But damnit I'll say it. This book is beautifully written, from start to finish. There were so many times I simply re-read a sentence for the sheer joy of its cadence. Listen to this: ‘How can a girl cultivate gladness after sorrow? Come flood, come drought, come storms of circumstance or unexpected pain, Kath made glad-rags from decimated suits.’ A poet, a novelist, Money is the rare fusion. I savored the deeply felt human connections that animate this novel. May the Saint (and Denny, Kath, Nuala, and the others) live on.”
—Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love, editor of Underground America