Title: Green Dreams: Essays Under the Influence of ...
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Book Condition: As New
1994. Hardcover. Green cloth. 209pp. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KON0822438
Synopsis: In Michael Stephens's words, "the net these pieces fall into is that world of the Irish American, the mick, the monkey face, the potato picker, the bog man." More to the point, it is the Irish of Stephens's youth, of Brooklyn's working-poor slums, under whose influence he composed these essays. In each of the book's three sections, he looks back on his life as he ponders a legendary quality - or, sometimes, proclivity - of his people as writers, fighters, or drinkers. Searching for the truths in the stereotypes, Stephens finds himself in what he discovers. Schoolyard bullies, surly longshoremen, boxers, and gangsters populate the opening section. On the subject of gangsters, Stephens takes a measure of their Hollywood renditions and finds them wanting. Those old James Cagney movies and such recent films as State of Grace have their moments, he says, but they can't touch the real thing - the vengeful, chaotic despots of Hell's Kitchen and the Manhattan waterfront. The lucky punch and its consequences to sender and recipient form the core of Stephens's musings on boxing, which are enriched by his own experiences in the ring. Reckoning his various literary debts, Stephens assays Joyce, Beckett, Flann O'Brien, and Yeats, and lays cultural claim to the Continental writers Italo Calvino and Thomas Bernhard, whom Stephens likes to regard as lost tribesmen of the Celts, products of a literary diaspora. This section also includes a profile of Bill Griffith, comic book artist and creator of Zippie the Pinhead. "Griffy" came from childhood circumstancee so similar to Stephens's that he categorically nods assent to Zippie's surreal observations. A Dantesque tour of the alcoholic's poisoned andever-shrinking microcosm concludes Green Dreams - a tour complete with highlights of Stephens's progress from check-in at a treatment center through detoxification, counseling, and that state of eternal penance known as rehabilitation. Beginning at age fifteen, Stephens drank every d
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