Kirk's Reviews > Zulu: An Irish Journey

Zulu by Joan Mathieu
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Dec 09, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: books-by-friends
Read in May, 2001

Joan and I went to high school together. We dated when we were sixteen until I ran away to Brazil. She always intimidated the hell out of me, which is why I loved her. I was proud when she worked for Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in the mid-90s and they published her book, which is the story of her traveling to Ireland to discover her family roots. Don't strain yourself wondering why a book about Ireland is called ZULU---James Joyce's son explains it early on. As I understand it, the book started as a Master's thesis at the U of Missouri-Columbia in the early 90s. (I went to UMC, too, but no, Joan didn't follow me there). The book takes her to Roscrea, County Tipperary in search of her grandmother, pre-1912 emigration. We then come back to New York to meet several other representative Irish. The interviews are often sad and bitter but always compelling. Most of all, it makes you respect what it cost Joan's grandmother's generation in terms of identity to make that one-way voyage to America.
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