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We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It


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About the Author

Tom Phelan had just turned fifty when his first novel, In the Season of the Daisies, was accepted for publication. Since then, Phelan has written five other novels: Iscariot, Derrycloney, The Canal Bridge, Nailer, and Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Born and reared in Ireland, he now lives in New York.


"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, New York Times bestselling author of A Monk Swimming
"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
"Phelan's prose has an unpretentious beauty as he describes the farm, its routine and the people he remembers... With rich detail and sensitivity, We Were Rich translates for us a rural world that has disappeared. And to assist townies like me, he appends a glossary." -Star Tribune
"Plain, honest, funny, occasionally sad and rich in material detail, this wonderful memoir [...] is the real thing." -Newsday
"A tender recollection of growing up on a farm in Ireland in the 1940s... a captivating portrait of a bygone time." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"[A] series of tender and earnest anecdotes of coming-of-age in the rural Irish midlands of the 1940s... Phelan's vivid images of his life on the farm and at school provide a rich and colorful snapshot of the times that shaped him." -Publishers Weekly
"An evocative memoir with echoes of Frank McCourt." -Newsday
"This might seem like a grim childhood, and to be sure at times it was, but Phelan also draws on the small victories, the love of the land and of family. At a time when we have so much and are satisfied with none of it, Phelan's story is one of grace and beauty." -CAYOCOSTA72
"In this very interesting memoir, we are drawn into a strange world from another time. One would love to sit down with the characters that are described in scintillating detail..." -Irish Echo

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