No News at Throat Lake

By Lawrence Donegan
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9780671785406, 272pp.)

Publication Date: April 2000

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Lawrence Donegan's dream is a modest one, really. An intrepid journalist, acclaimed author, erstwhile pop-music star, and drolly anthropological social critic, Donegan longs for the quiet life, far from the crowds, filth, and all-around dreariness of big-city life. Here, then, is the hilarious, sharp-edged, and oddly touching account of one man's pursuit of his own private, seemingly simple escape to a tiny Irish town.

Once he has carefully selected a wardrobe to suit such an ambitious urban exodus (boxer shorts or Y-fronts?), anguished over the perfect soundtrack for his sabbatical (Duran Duran or "Blonde on Blonde?)," and bidden extended farewells to fond friends (total time elapsed: six minutes), our hero is unmoored at last, faced with a seemingly limitless array of possible destinations. His choice? Where else but the exceedingly rural, and reputedly quaint, Irish village of Creeslough?

After dabbling briefly-and bloodily-in the exotic world of Creeslough-style farming (he dubs his experience "Quentin Tarantino's "All Creatures Great and Small")," Donegan decides to flex his bigcity writing chops. He lands a job at the "Tirconaill Tribune," a blindly idealistic, libel-slinging tabloid run by two men and a dog. "No News At Throat Lake" is the charming story of a passionate love affair between the big-city hack and the small-time rag. It ponders the question that every foreigner wants to know about Ireland -- "what's it like to live there, anyway?" -- as well as some unexpected curiosities: Does Meryl Streep drink Guinness? What's it like to produce a newspaper with a dead body in the house? And what's the story behind Stinky, the dead whale?

Sublimely funny andeffortlessly hip, "No News At Throat Lake" is an altogether refreshing memoir of Irish life and times -- from one of the most wickedly observant talents writing today.

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