TOUGH POETS PRESS


Going to Patchogue
Thomas McGonigle
New edition of the 1992 novel with a new afterword by the author
July 16, 2024
9798218422158 Paperback / 260 pages / $19.99

In an era where the allure of distant lands and the promise of new experiences drive us to constant movement, Thomas McGonigle's critically-acclaimed Going to Patchogue brings forth a powerful counter-narrative. This is not just a travel book; it's an introspective dive into the essence of a place that most would overlook, and a man's attempt to reconcile with his past. Patchogue, a seemingly unremarkable village on Long Island 60 miles from New York City, a passby place for the crowds going to the fashionable Hamptons, becomes the epicenter of a profound exploration of memory, loss, and the complex tapestry of human emotion.

The novel unfolds through a seamless blend of reality and fiction, propelled by a raw and unflinching stream-of-consciousness technique that echoes the likes of CĂ©line. As the narrator embarks on a journey to and from Patchogue by way of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Italy, readers are invited to transcend the literal sense of travel. Instead, we embark on a quest for paradise, driven by the disillusionment with reality and a deep yearning to find meaning in the ashes of experienced life.

Reviews

"[An] unconventional but unexpectedly moving novel. Like Joyce, [McGonigle] elevates his wandering consciousness to the stature of ironic hero, his quest becoming a monologue of silence and exile powered by the cunning of creativity. . . . He must be read slowly. The effort is rewarding, In the end, McGonigle's novel leaves the deep impression of lasting achievement."
— Robert Chatain, The Chicago Tribune

"A touching but puzzling novel . . . in its depiction of place the novel sprouts wings, With a kind of fond revulsion, Mr. McGonigle uses character sketches and beautifully realistic voice-overs to convey among other points the cadences of Suffolk County speech and the racism that infects much of the area's white middle class. . . . McGonigle knows his territory and writes from the heart."
— David Sacks, The New York Times

"Going to Patchogue is as deep and ruthless a self-portrait as one might hope to find anywhere in contemporary fiction. McGonigle lays himself wide open in all his needless egotism, obsessiveness, bigotry and despair. . . . By the novel's end one can't be anything but moved by this native son's agony over the pointlessness of his restless travels."
— Jonathan Dee, Newsday

"In an age of predigested plotlines and predictable suspense, it is no mean feat that McGonigle can manage to surprise the reader time and again with unexpected bits of physical and psychological violence. He does have a unique point of view."
The Los Angeles Times

"Instead of a monumentally long work like Ulysses, McGonigle has produced a marvelously resonant shorter work, one that operates on the principle of leaving out rather than putting in. . . . [He] emerges as one of the few white writers with the courage to portray white racists as they are."
— Eamonn Wall, American Book Review

"While many will find this literate and haunting novel difficult, others will treasure it as an exploration of those recesses of the mind where we can be most honestly ourselves. For McGonigle that territory is called Patchogue."
Publishers Weekly

"This is not a book of for the weak of stomach but one for literary salts ready for the worst in the best of writing."
— Hannah Green

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