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The Homecoming Seasons

An Irish Catholic returns to a changing Long Island

September 12, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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“In this luminous, loving, bittersweet yet redemptive memoir, MacGuire rais- es personal biography to a higher plane as he engages what the late priest- sociologist Andrew Greeley defined as the Catholic Imagination: the art of seeing the details of this world in all its variety—from the mundane to the sublime—as sacramental. His touch is light, his wit sparkling, his descrip- tions evocative. Oscar Wilde got it right: ‘life imitates art.’ MacGuire’s artful landscape with figures is life-enhancing.” — Charles Scribner III

“This wonderful book describes the triumphs and travails of a family written by a literary man who is always looking below the surface of events and be- yond the confines of the ordinary. He is observant of nature, history, customs, parenthood, and what it is to lead a full life.” — Ellis Wasson, University of Delaware

The Homecoming Seasons: An Irish Catholic Returns to a Changing Long Island is a moving memoir of a returning native’s re-experience of his childhood community. After many years abroad, James P. MacGuire re- turned to New York and spent most of the 1980s at Time Inc., Macmillan, and the Manhattan Institute. After he married, he and his wife decamped from Manhattan for a small enclave called the Isle of Wight in the village of Lawrence on the south shore of Long Island, where MacGuire had grown up.

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This book is the story of MacGuire’s return to that world—how it had evolved from ancient times; been inhabited by indigenous peoples; colonized by the Dutch and English; and then grew from a sparsely populated agricultural corner of western Long Island to an early summer resort, then an outer, and, finally, an inner suburb of New York City.

MacGuire skillfully weaves memories of his childhood in this almost hidden world with sketches of his family and their friends before updating his account with a lovingly detailed, diary-like depiction of returning. He captures in cinematic detail the wonder of the wetlands and surrounding natural world, the poignant life, death and rebirth of community, the joys and sor- rows of marriage and parenthood, and the profound

JAMES P. MacGUIRE grew up on Long Island and was educated at Johns Hopkins and Cambridge. He has worked at Time Inc., Macmillan, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the UK Catholic Herald. His poetry, fiction, and journalism have appeared in many national publications, and he is the author of fifteen books.

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