Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers : And other ways of being human

3.84 (44 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'It's always a bad idea to go online and book a flight when you've had too much wine. You never know where you might end up.'

This was how Michael Harding found himself in a strange flat in Bucharest in January 2015, which set the tone for the rest of the year.
After a stint in the Gaiety Theatre production of The Field, Harding returned to the tranquil hills above Lough Allen and began to imagine what his little cottage might look like if he got a few builders to tear a hole in the wall to add on another room. Surely an extension would give him a renewed sense of purpose in life, as he approached old age.
But as the walls of his home crumbled, so too did his mental health, and he fell, once again, into depression -- that great darkness where life feels like nothing more than a waste of time.
And yet, it is in that great darkness that we discover what really makes us human.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 155 x 233 x 25mm | 440g
  • Castleknock, Ireland
  • English
  • 147362357X
  • 9781473623576
  • 48,108

Review quote

Michael Harding is no ordinary man or memoirist ... a book that champions the kindness (or at least company) of strangers as essential for that elusive state known as happiness * RTE Guide * Hilarious, and tender, and mad, and harrowing, and wistful, and always beautifully written. A wonderful book * Kevin Barry on Staring at Lakes * This memoir grabs you from the outset and holds you right to the end. Harding traverses the human soul and excavates its deepest secrets. His language sings. Extraordinary * Deirdre Purcell on Staring at Lakes * I read this book in one sitting ... it held me and wouldn't let go * Mary McEvoy, Irish Independent on Staring at Lakes * It's rare for a memoir to demand such intense emotional involvement, and rarer still for it to be so fully rewarded * Sunday Times on Staring at Lakes * Often funny, occasionally disturbing and not without its moments of deep sadness, Harding has peeled back his soul and held it out on the palm of his hand for all to see * Christine Dwyer Hickey on Hanging with the Elephant * Harding is a self-deprecating and winsome writer whose bittersweet musings on middle-age, loneliness and the search for spiritual enlightenment in post-Catholic Ireland are leavened by an incredibly dry and unforced wit. However, it's the sections in which Harding focuses on his relationship with his mother... that Hanging with the Elephant reaches lump-in-throat-inducing levels of poignancy * Metro Herald on Hanging with the Elephant * Wonderful ... Like many people who have achieved a great deal, [Harding] cannot recognise his triumphs. This book, like its predecessor, is one of them * John Boyne, Irish Times on Hanging with the Elephant * An edifying journey of self-discovery * Irish Mail on Sunday on Hanging with the Elephant * A compelling memoir. Absorbing and graced with a deceptive lightness of touch ... Harding writes like an angel * Sunday Times on Hanging with the Elephant *
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About Michael Harding

Michael Harding is an author and playwright. His creative chronicle of ordinary life in the Irish midlands is published as a weekly column in The Irish Times. He has written numerous plays for the Abbey Theatre, including Una Pooka,Misogynist and Sour Grapes, and has published three novels, Priest, The Trouble with Sarah Gullion and Bird in the Snow as well as three bestselling memoirs, Staring at Lakes, which won three BGE Irish Book awards, Hanging with the Elephant and Talking to Strangers and the bestselling On Tuesdays I'm a Buddhist.
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Rating details

44 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 16% (7)
4 57% (25)
3 25% (11)
2 0% (0)
1 2% (1)
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