Bono Meets With United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres At The U.N.

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New Yorker magazine has posted an excerpt from Bono's memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.

It's from the chapter “Iris,” about his mom who died unexpectedly in 1974.

In part he writes, "I have very few memories of my mother, Iris. Neither does my older brother, Norman. The simple explanation is that, in our house, after she died she was never spoken of again.

"I fear it was worse than that. That we rarely thought of her again.

"We were three Irish men, and we avoided the pain that we knew would come from thinking and speaking about her...

"Iris was a practical, frugal woman. She could change a plug on a kettle, and she could sew -- boy, could she sew! She became a part-time dressmaker when my da refused to let her work as a cleaning lady for the national airline, Aer Lingus, along with her best friends from the neighborhood...

"My mother heard me sing publicly just once. I played the Pharaoh in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was really the part of an Elvis impersonator, so that’s what I did. Dressed up in one of my mother’s white trouser suits with some silvery sequins glued on, I curled my lip and brought the house down. Iris laughed and laughed. She seemed surprised that I could sing, that I was musical."

And he writes about the day she passed, while they were mourning the death of her dad. "At the funeral, I spot my father carrying my mother in his arms through a crowd, like a white snooker ball scattering a triangle of color. He’s rushing to get her to the hospital. She has collapsed at the side of the grave as her own father is being lowered into the ground.

“'Iris has fainted. Iris has fainted.' The voices of my aunts and cousins blow around like a breeze through leaves. 'She’ll be O.K. She’s just fainted.' Before I, or anyone else, can think, my father has Iris in the back of the Hillman Avenger, with my brother Norman at the wheel...

"I stay with my cousins to say goodbye to my grandfather, and then we all shuffle back to my grandmother’s tiny red brick house...

"Even though it’s Grandda’s funeral, and even though Iris has fainted, we’re kids, cousins, running around and laughing. Until Ruth, my mother’s younger sister, bursts through the door. 'Iris is dying. She’s had a stroke.'...

"I’m 14 and strangely calm. I tell my mother’s sisters and brothers that everything is going to be O.K.

"Three days later Norman and I are brought into the hospital to say goodbye. She’s alive but barely... I enter the room at war with the universe, but Iris looks peaceful. It’s hard to figure that a large part of her has already left. We hold her hand. There’s a clicking sound, but we don’t hear it."

Bono will discuss the book on October 7th at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in New York City as part of the New Yorker Festival with New Yorker editor David Remnick. The book will be out on November 1st.

Source: New Yorker

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