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Tom Phelan

We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It

A Memoir of My Irish Boyhood

“A tender recollection of growing up on a farm in Ireland in the 1940s. In precise, vibrant prose, novelist Phelan creates a finely etched portrait…A captivating portrait of a bygone time.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It will enrich your soul. Tom Phelan is an enormously gifted purveyor of the word, and here he recounts the travails and triumphs of an Irish farm family, elevating same in glorious poetic prose. You don’t have to be Irish to cherish this literary gift; just being human and curious and from a family will suffice.”—Malachy McCourt

“At a time when we have so much and are satisfied with none of it, the story of We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It is one of grace and beauty.”—For the Love of Books

“Other works have been situated at the same intersection of time and place, but rarely has the tale been told with such a charming simplicity of voice plus a vividness that fully captures the distinctive sound and pulse of Irish life.”—Billy Collins, past U.S. poet laureate

“A nimble exercise in storytelling in which Tom shapes his recollections into a series of richly detailed vignettes...Plain, honest, funny, occasionally sad and rich in material detail, this [is a] wonderful memoir...This is the real thing.” —Newsday

"Phelan’s vivid images of life on the farm and at school provide a rich and colorful snapshot of the times that shaped him." —Publishers Weekly

In the tradition of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It is a heartfelt and masterfully written memoir of growing up in Ireland in the 1940s. Phelan, who was born and reared in County Laois in the Irish midlands, spent his formative years working with his wise and demanding father as he sought to wrest a livelihood from a farm that was often wet, muddy, and back-breaking.

It was a time before rural electrification, the telephone, and indoor plumbing; a time when the main modes of travel were bicycle and animal cart; a time when small farmers struggled to survive and turkey eggs were hatched in the kitchen cupboard; a time when the Church exerted enormous control over Ireland.

We Were Rich and We Didn't Know it

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Published by
Gallery Books / Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781501197093
eBook ISBN: 9781501197116
Hardcover ISBN: 9781501197093 Audiobook ASIN: B07JQC8WQ8