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Things You Get For Free
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Things You Get for Free is a travelogue rich with charm and wisdom and sparkling with its author's singular wit. As a priest, Michael McGirr decides to take his charming and inimitable mum on the honeymoon she and her late husband never got around to having. He uses his six-week vacation to take her on a tour of Europe. Between meditating on their hilarious and illuminating travels and on the historical figures who dot their voyage - everyone from Hemingway to Michelangelo to the quietly heroic people who inspire Michael's special brand of faith - McGirr plunges deep into his family history, unearthing sickness and instability but also moments of great love and perseverance. Things You Get for Free is a deeply moving spiritual and intellectual journey, proving the truth behind a mother's favorite saying: 'I know more than you think I do.'
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About the Author

Michael McGirr, born in 1961, is an essayist, reviewer, prize-winning short-story writer and teacher. A former Jesuit priest, he has been the publisher of _Eureka Street_ and editor of _Australian Catholics_; and is the author of _Unhinged Saints_, _Tim Winton: the writer and his work_, _Bypass: the story of a road_, and _The Lost Art of Sleep_. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, Jenny, and their three children.

Reviews

'Most people writing about their mothers go in for self-justification or malicious gossip: McGirr doesn't - he goes in for tenderness and humour. This is a happy book about a happy journey made by two happy grown ups, who have known each other a long time. It could be "twee" but it isn't - it's refreshing. Probably because McGirr writes well and is not sentimental but loving (towards his mother, his world and himself). It's a shame that the word "delightful" has been devalued - this is a delightful book; it is full of delights.' -- Sara Maitland `A fresh and funny memoir - thoughtful, searching, with reckless flashes of tenderness.' -- Helen Garner `No travel writing I have read elsewhere has such depth of insight into depression, organised religion and the empires of Other People and What It All Meant.' -- Les Murray * Times Literary Supplement * `It would be impossible not to enjoy the company of Michael McGirr: son, priest, raconteur and writer.' * The Age * `McGirr offers some of the sharpest observations on European foibles since Mark Twain swept through the continent ... Readers will come for the humour, but they'll stay for McGirr's haunting memories of his path into the priesthood, his mother's sacrifices and his father's death.' * Publisher's Weekly (starred review) *

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