Just moved into an apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnolly’s pub for a pint, a slow one.
One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and a pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seem’s to know Victor’s name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick. Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories too – of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on radio. But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control and eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.
Smile has all … Read More »
Roy Keane – The Second Half 2014
As part of a tiny elite group of football players, Roy Keane has had a life like no other. His status as one of football’s greatest stars is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the pitch? How did he succeed in coming to terms with life as a former Manchester United and Ireland leader and champion, reinventing himself as a manager and then a broadcaster, and cope with the psychological struggles this entailed? The Second Half blends anecdote and reflection in Roy Keane’s unique voice.
Two More Pints 2014
Published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, 11 September 2014, Ebook also available.
Two men meet for a pint – or two – in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights, curse the ref, say a last farewell…
In this second collection of comic dialogues Doyle’s drinkers ponder: a topless Kate Middleton; Barack and Michelle Obama (‘fuckin’ gorgeous’); David Beckham (‘Would you tattoo your kids’ names on the back of your neck?’ ‘They wouldn’t fit’); Jimmy Savile (‘a gobshite’); the financial crisis (again); abortion (again); and horsemeat in your burger. Once again, those we have lost troop through their thoughts – Lou Reed, Seamus Heaney, Reg Presley, Nelson Mandela, Phil Everly, Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Temple – and they still have the ability to ask the really fundamental questions like ‘Would you take penalty points for your missis?’.
Dead Man Talking 2014
Pat had been best friends with Joe Murphy since they were kids. But five years ago they had a fight. A big one, and they haven’t spoken since — till the day before Joe’s funeral.
What? On the day before his funeral Joe would be dead, wouldn’t he?
Yes, he would…
Dead Man Talking is a book in the Quick Reads series which sets out to show that books and reading can be for everyone. Each year they commission authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. They are the same as mainstream books in every respect but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading. Dead Man Talking was published in February.
The Guts 2013
Jimmy Rabbitte is back.
The man who invented the Commitments back in the eighties is now forty-seven, with a loving wife, four kids … and bowel cancer. He isn’t dying, he thinks, but he might be.
Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle – his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay money for their resurrected singles and albums. On his path through Dublin he meets two of the Commitments – Outspan, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever. He is reunited with his long-lost brother and learns to play the trumpet.
This warm, funny novel is about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life. It climaxes in one of the great passages in Roddy Doyle’s fiction: four middle-aged … Read More »
Two Pints 2012
Two men meet for a pint in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights, take the piss. They talk about their wives, their kids, their kids’ pets, their football teams and – this being Ireland in 2011-12 -about the euro, the crash, the presidential election, the Queen’s visit.
Bullfighting moves from classrooms to graveyards, local pubs to bullrings; featuring an array of men at their working day and at rest, taking stock and reliving past glories. Each is concerned with loss in different ways – of their place in the world, of power, virility, love – of the boom days and the Celtic Tiger.
Brilliantly observed, funny and moving, the stories in Bullfighting present a new vision of contemporary Ireland, of its woes and triumphs.
The Dead Republic 2010
At the end of Oh, Play That Thing, the second volume of Roddy Doyle’s trilogy about Henry Smart, Henry, his leg severed in an accident with a railway boxcar, crawls into the Utah desert to die – only to be discovered by John Ford, who’s there shooting his latest Western. Ford recognises a fellow Irish rebel and determines to turn Henry’s story – a boy volunteer at the GPO in 1916, a hitman for Michael Collins, a republican legend – into a film. He appoints him ‘IRA consultant’ on his new production, The Quiet Man.
The Dead Republic opens in 1951. Henry is returning to Ireland for the first time since his escape in 1922. With him are the stars of Ford’s film, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, and the famous director himself, ‘Pappy’, who in a series of intense, highly charged meetings has tried to suck the soul out of Henry and turn it into Hollywood gold-dust.
Ten years later Henry is in Dublin, working in Ratheen as a school caretaker, nicknamed ‘Hoppy Henry’ by the boys on account of his wooden leg. When he is caught in a bomb blast, that wooden leg gets left behind. He finds himself a hero: the old IRA veteran who’s lost his leg to a UVF bomb. Wheeled out by the Provos, Henry is to find he will have other uses too, when the peace process begins in deadly secrecy…
In three brilliant novels, A Star Called Henry, Oh, Play That Thing and The Dead Republic, Roddy … Read More »
The Deportees 2008
For more than ten years Roddy Doyle has been writing stories for Metro Eireann, a newspaper started by, and aimed at, immigrants to Ireland. Each of the stories took a new slant on the immigrant experience, something of increasing relevance and importance in today’s Ireland. The stories range from Guess Who’s Coming For The Dinner, where a father who prides himself on his open-mindedness, is forced to confront his feelings when one of his daughters brings home ‘a black fella’, to a terrifying ghost story, The Pram, in which a Polish nanny grows impatient with her charges and decides – in a phrase she has learnt – to ‘scare them shitless’. Most of the stories are very funny – in 57 Percent Irish Ray Brady tries to devise a test of Irishness by measuring reactions to Robbie Keane’s goal against Germany in the 2002 World Cup, Riverdance and Danny Boy –others deeply moving. And best of all, in the title story itself, Jimmy Rabbitte, the man who formed The Commitments, decides it’s time to find a new band, and this time no White Irish need apply. Multicultural to a fault, The Deportees specialise not in soul music this time, but the songs of Woody Guthrie.
Paula Spencer 2006
When we first met Paula Spencer – in The Woman Who Walked into Doors – she was thirty-nine, recently widowed, an alcoholic struggling to hold her family together. Paula Spencer begins on the eve of Paula’s forty-eighth birthday. She hasn’t had a drink for four months and five days. Her youngest children, Jack and Leanne, are still living with her. They’re grand kids, but she worries about Leanne. Paula still works as a cleaner, but all the others doing the job now seem to come from Eastern Europe, and the checkout girls in the supermarket are Nigerian. You can get a cappuccino in the cafe, and her sister Carmel is thinking of buying a holiday home in Bulgaria. Paula’s got four grandchildren now; two of them are called Marcus and Sapphire. Reviewing The Woman Who Walked into Doors, Mary Gordon wrote: ‘It is the triumph of this novel that Mr Doyle – entirely without condescension – shows the inner life of this battered house-cleaner to be the same stuff as that of the heroes of the great novels of Europe.’ Her words hold true for this novel. Paula Spencer is brave, tenacious and very funny. The novel that bears her name is another triumph for Roddy Doyle.