“Fascinating read. An ordinary kid telling an ordinary story in an extraordinary way.”
--John R. Powers, author of Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? , The Last Catholic in America, and The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream god
"The Dunkard’s Son features 40 vignettes of life on Chicago’s South Side in the 1960s and 1970s, where Foley, 51, a gifted storyteller, grew up with two brothers and three sisters in a succession of second-floor apartments." --Lorraine Swanson, Oak Lawn Patch, July 20, 2012
Reviews of The Drunkard's Son
“…This is a compelling and surprisingly humorous book. And Foley has always been one to play around with perceptions. . . . You will be pleasantly surprised by the depth and heart and honesty of his new book.” --Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
"The authors [in We Speak CHICAGOESE] take us from Foster Beach to Englewood, from Edgewater to Marquette Park, from the Loop to Humboldt Park, and the diction and perspective shifts along the way." --Toni Nealie, Newcity
“This is Foley’s second book written in a voice that is not quite his own—and the second time he’s pulled it off. . . . The Drunkard’s Sonis more than anything a storytelling vehicle. . . . There is plenty to put a smile on your face. But you’re more likely to get choked up by the vignettes of father and son at the neighborhood tavern.” --Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times, April 29, 2012.
“Patricia Ann McNair's And These Are the Good Times is a startlingly evocative exploration of the complexities of family, love, writing, sex, loss, and national identity. McNair's essays are challenging, colloquial, and contemplative. Her work recalls Jo Ann Beard and Mary Karr in its powerful insistence and range." --Joe Meno, author of Marvel and a Wonder and Hairstyles of the Damned
“‘Good,’ in the dexterous eyes and mind of Patricia Ann McNair, lodges itself in the details. A safety-pinned button on the cuff of a Cuban valet’s fresh uniform; the cool relief of Thin Mints after the flu; Christmas interpreted by a 400-pound cab driver. These essays travel widely through time and geography, and all are places and moments you’ll count yourself lucky to have ventured with a wry, smart yet tender-hearted guide. McNair searches for home, and finds homes instead.” --Mardi Jo Link, author of Bootstrapper: From Broke to
Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm
“The essays in And These Are the Good Times are so arrestingly good that I had to stop several times to marvel at how keen, generous, and compassionate Patricia Ann McNair’s writing is. She’s put her arms around the world and embraced so many of its complexities with the great heart and wondering eye of a poet.” --Christine Sneed, author of Little Known Facts and The Virginity of Famous Men
In this heartfelt collection of essays that run the gamut of emotions, Patricia Ann McNair, with her usual wit, wisdom, and unflinching honesty, articulates all manner of crucial questions--on being a daughter, a sister, a woman, an artist, an American in the here and now; the articulations diving so profoundly into the particulars of her life that we are carried, as articulation of crucial questions usually do, to all manner of universal reflection and, contemplation." --Eric May, author of Bedrock Faith
“Patricia Ann McNair is a brilliant essayist. Her intelligence is fierce, her prose is luminous, her storytelling is enthralling. The collection spans decades and continents and a whole spectrum of emotion; joy, rage, heat, shock, did I mention heat? At one point, while reading this collection in a coffee shop, the person at the next table leaned over to ask if I was okay. I hadn’t realized I was crying. I hadn’t realized I was breathing. I hadn’t realized I was even in a coffee shop—I’d been in a backroom in Cuba, listening to an old man in the next room; a bar in Chicago with McNair and her brother and the gut-punch of regret; a cabin in Northern Michigan with newfound love and unspeakable loss. My God, my heart.” --Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life
“Patricia Ann McNair adds her remarkable voice to an impress-ive list of Chicago nonfiction writers who have soared to national attention. Her style leaps from the page: unselfconsciously sexy, laced with the big questions, sporting a gritty wisdom. These essays are smart, sophisticated, writerly, and simul-taneously intimate and familial. Add to this her range of literary interests and the breadth of her subject matter—dancing to jukeboxes, reading her father’s FBI files, running gas stations, working the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—and you have a collection that will absorb, delight, and keep you turning the pages.” --Anne-Marie Oomen, author of Love, Sex and 4-H
"[We Speak CHICAGOESE] is like a talented chorus that sings the song of Chicago in words."
--Rick Kogan, WGN Radio
"Foley intertwines humorous stories about his misadventures with his drunken father alongside journal entries about the strange solitude Foley seemed to enjoy during his 10-day hospital stay, after he was nearly stabbed to death in an alley fight as a sophomore at St. Laurence High School."
Reviews of We Speak CHICAGOESE
“The odd agents who weave their way across Foley's pages make for a fantastic read. While this mem-fic (part memoir, part fiction) contains a number of sad stories reminiscent of Angela's Ashes, Foley's humorous stories help bring good balance to this work.” --Reviewers Bookwatch, July 2012
“Dennis Foley may have outgrown his days as a Chicago alley fighter, but in The Drunkard’s Son he delivers a knockout punch with this moving and thought-provoking look at a sometimes painful period in American history and in a young boy’s life. Foley knows how to tell a story—the highest compliment I can pay.” --Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times
"We Speak Chicagoese . . . is a must for any lover of this city who also loves good writing. Funny, touching, timely and just some damn fine artists in these pages.
--Daniel French, of "French and Friends," WCGO Radio