This book is not a city handbook – it is much, much more:
it’s the poetic journey of an Irish poet in his adopted city.
Terry McDonagh sees with the keen eye of an outsider who refuses to recognize political and social boundaries. We are taken on spiritual adventures through the streets and into the complex heart of man. Hamburg is more than city – it has a fascinating underbelly where the poet comes to life in a laughing field with a city tacked on to its hem. His universal Hamburg is a multitudes of stories, poems and drama about Any-where, Else-where, No-where – its fašade is a challenge and a citizen is a fragile, Joycean institution worthy of closer study. He has Eimsbuettel by Heart; he’s a HSV supporter with a season ticket, and a former drama teacher at The International School. His language is rich, light, hard, playful and full of visual images: Du Gisela … Sie Gisela; it’s like a man discovering his face. On a personal level, he seems to thrive in an adopted culture and language that can never be, fully, his. He seems to suggest that true homeland is the language of the heart. When in doubt, ask Heine, Borchert, Ruehmkorf
In the Light of Bridges is a bittersweet love song to Hamburg. Terry McDonagh is a master bard of the home from home; integrated he may be, but 'tidy and tailored', as he claims here? Never. He has an observing novelist's eye for the specifics of place and an empathetic poet's ear for the universality of the human spirit. He is a writer with a sharp nib and a generous heart.