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From the author of the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, a bold, haunting novel about the uncertainty of memory and how we contend with the past.
"It's his bravest novel yet; it's also, by far, his best." npr.org
“The closest thing he’s written to a psychological thriller."– The New York Times Book Review
Just moved into a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s for a pint, a slow one. One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and a pink shirt comes over and sits down. He seems to know Victor’s name and to remember him from secondary school. 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—of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who would say the unsayable on the radio. But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular brother, that Victor cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.
Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humor, the superb evocation of adolescence, but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to reevaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of ten acclaimed novels, including The Commitments, The Van (a finalist for the Booker Prize), Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (winner of the Booker Prize), The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, A Star Called Henry, and, most recently, The Guts. Doyle has also written two collections of stories, and several works for children and young adults. He lives in Dublin.
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Excerpted from "Smile"
Copyright © 2018 Roddy Doyle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Smile by Roddy Doyle is a very highly recommended excellent novel about a man examining his life and the uncertainty of memory. Victor Forde, 54, is a failed writer who is looking for a local pub that he can call his regular place. After his recent separation from his famous wife, Rachel, he has returned to his hometown and rented a cheap apartment. Now he simply wants a quiet place where he can have a slow pint at night. He's decided on Donnelly's. Then a man called Fitzpatrick shows up there, sits next to him, and immediately claims to know Victor from secondary school. Victor doesn't recall the man at all and , in fact, dislikes him on sight. As he finds a group of regulars to sit with at Donnelly's, what Victor tries to do is avoid Fitzpatrick at all costs. The man acts like they are best friends, but, as he reviews his life, Victor seems to be afraid of what Fitzpatrick might reveal. Fitzpatrick seems to know a lot about Victor, but Victor cannot remember him at all. What Victor does is begin to reminisce on events from his past. He looks back at his life as a rock critic and political journalist. He recalls when he met Rachel and her rise to fame. He recollects the radio programs where he was invited to speak on controversial issues. But he especially begins to remember his years being taught by the brothers at St. Martin's Christian Brothers School, especially one brother. Doyle brings all of his considerable, skillful writing ability to bear here and the result is stunning. Smile may not evoke any mirth the title implies, but this is a memorable, tenacious, and daring psychological mystery. the ending will have even the most careful reader take pause and reexamine everything they have just read. This is an exceptional novel that begs the reader to question how we recall our own memories of events that have occurred in our lives. Most of the novel is written in flashbacks. Not much can be written about the ending, but it will shock and disturb you. Smile is nothing like any other novel by Doyle I've read, and yet it is remarkable. It also makes Smile a novel that is quite unforgettable. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House