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Posted July 20, 2011
Roddy Doyle's latest is seriously funny
You can breeze through this collection of Roddy Doyle short stories, but why not take your time with each and savor the flavor of Dublin today.
I love how Doyle has matured in his subject matter but kept his writing style. You can almost imagine the boys from "The Commitments" are grown up and facing the challenges of middle-age and beyond.
"Bullfighting" has some funny, funny dialogue between husbands and wives and the kind of banter between pals that will make you think Doyle sat at a bar recording conversations you and your friends might have had, with an Irish twist, of course.
While the humor is the foam rising to the top of Doyle's literary brew, there's the dark of a Guinness underlying the stories. Loneliness, second-guessing one's life choices, feeling of no value, wondering about loving -- and especially fear about not being loved back.
Doyle also doesn't sugarcoat Ireland's unemployment problem; it's a recurring trait of his characters.
But the somber or melancholy tones are blended so nicely with the comedic slice-of-life vignettes that readers -- like Doyle's middle-aged men -- tend to push the worries aside to laugh.
And anyone who's ever buried a family pet will love the story titled "Animals." Catch this excerpt:
"The animals always had decent, elaborate burials. Christian, Hindu, Humanist -- whatever bits of knowledge and sh*** the kids brought home from school went into the funerals. George changed mobile phones, not because he really wanted to, but because he knew the boxes would come in handy - it was always wise to have a coffin ready for the next dead bird or fish."
The whole story is just as funny, but the magic that Doyle saves for the end of "Animals" is worth the price of the entire book.
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Posted March 15, 2012
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