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“Too difficult, too scandalous for school, you read Joyce the way you listened to late punk, or early rap.”
I grew up, the son of an Irish fireman and nurse, in a house with few books. We had a nursing manual, packed with astonishing photographs of extreme, untreated diseases; a Collier’s Encyclopedia, bought from a door-to-door salesman (to educate, by osmosis, me and my brother); and a lot of paperback Dick Francis racing thrillers. But, right beside the encyclopedia (where the Bible would have been, a generation earlier), there was…
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