To embark on a sequel to a successful book is always something of a gamble. McCourt uses a great deal of direct speech, and I did find that I missed the chorus of Irish voices that characterized the first volume. But his ear for New York dialect is as good as for the Irish voices of his childhood, and Irish characters are not wholly lacking, because McCourt is part of the large expatriate Irish community and he goes back to Limerick on holiday. The book works well in its own right, but it will be irresistible to readers of Angela's Ashes, who will be anxious to know what happened to McCourt when he survived his amazing Limerick childhood. I get the impression that the two books were conceived as a whole, because the implication contained in the title of the first volume reaches its conclusion only at the end of the second, when McCourt's mother dies and is cremated and her ashes are scattered in the graveyard outside Limerick.