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About the Author: Brendan Behan

Brendan Francis Behan (Irish: Breandán Ó Beacháin) (9 February 1923 – 20 March 1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army.

Behan was born in the inner city of Dublin on 9 February 1923 into an educated working class family. He lived in a house on Russell Street near Mountjoy Square owned by his grandmother, Christine English, who owned a number of properties in the area. Also living in the area was his uncle Peadar Kearney, song writer and author of the Irish national anthem. Brendan's father, Stephen Behan, a house painter who had been active in the Irish War of Independence, read classic literature to the children at bedtime from sources such as Zola, Galsworthy, and Maupassant; his mother, Kathleen, took them on literary tours of the city. If Behan's interest in literature came from his father, his political beliefs were by his mother. She remained politically active all her life and was a personal friend of the Irish republican Michael Collins. Brendan Behan wrote a lament to Collins, "The Laughing Boy", at the age of thirteen. The title was from the affectionate nickname Mrs. Behan gave to Collins. Kathleen published her autobiography, "Mother of all the Behans," a collaboration with her son Brian, in 1984.

Behan's uncle Peadar Kearney wrote the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann. His brother, Dominic Behan, was also a renowned songwriter best known for the song "The Patriot Game"; another sibling, Brian Behan, was a prominent radical political activist and public speaker, actor, author, and playwright. Brendan and Brian did not share the same views, especially when the question of politics or nationalism arose. Brendan on his deathbed (presumably in jest) asked Cathal Goulding, then the Chief of Staff of the IRA, to 'have that bastard Brian shot—we've had all sorts in our family, but never a traitor!'.

A biographer Ulick O'Connor, recounts that one day, at the age of eight, Brendan was returning home with his granny and a crony from a drinking session. A passer-by remarked, "Oh, my! Isn't it terrible ma'am to see such a beautiful child deformed?" "How dare you", said his granny. "He's not deformed, he's just drunk!"

Behan left school at 13 to follow in his father's footsteps as a house painter.


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Goodreads rating: 3.31

Paperback, Published in Feb 2008 by Marbot

ISBN10: | ISBN13: 9788493574451

Page count: 183

Si alguna ciudad ilustra de manera privilegiada la enormidad del continente americano es Nueva York. Behan es uno más de los visitantes de la ciudad —muchos de ellos convertidos en permanentes— que no ha podido mantenerse indiferente a ella, aunque las experiencias puedan ser de lo más variado. Para algunos las dimensiones de la ciudad y su agitado trajín son como una patada en el trasero; para otros representa la vida moderna en todo su esplendor, donde los encuentros fortuitos son la regla y toda transformación personal parece posible; para otros, como es bien sabido, constituye la némesis de toda moral.
Brendan Behan deja bien clara desde el principio su imparcialidad hacia el objeto de sus comentarios y divagaciones: «Nueva York es la mejor ciudad del mundo, por un lado y por el otro y por cualquier lado: de espalda, de cara y de perfil». Y sin embargo un examen más detallado de los diversos perfiles de la ciudad de sus sueños se convierte para Behan en una ocasión para reírse a propósito de prácticamente todo lo que ha visto o le han contado de ella: ya esté hablando de los taxistas o de los banqueros, de los irlandeses, los judíos o los camareros, del precio de los abrigos o de la calidad de la cerveza, Behan tiene siempre una anécdota propia o ajena para dar forma a su personalísimo recorrido por la ciudad, o para dar color a sus frecuentes escapadas a temas de la más rigurosa universalidad.
Libro de viajes, monólogo humorístico o como se le quiera llamar, el libro de Behan es una aproximación literaria y poco convencional a una de las ciudades más fascinantes del mundo. El texto va acompañado por una magnífica colección de dibujos de Paul Hogarth sobre diversos motivos asociados a Nueva York y a las anécdotas de Behan.

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