Thursday, May 22, 2008

3 by Roddy Doyle: THE SNAPPER (1990), THE VAN (1991) and PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA (1993)

When I recently learned that Roddy Doyle would highlight the fall event that I am co-chairing, I reached for several of his books to refamiliarize myself with his work.

Many of you will be familiar with his Barrytown trilogy: THE COMMITMENTS, THE SNAPPER, THE VAN from the feature films that were adapted from each of them. All three novels follow the Rabbitte family, a motley crew of lovable "ne-er do wells" who live in the projects in Dublin. It is Doyle's talent in writing authentic dialect that makes each of these books sing.

PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA is a triumph of childhood narrative from the perspective of 10-year-old Paddy who fumbles his way through the schoolyard and home life where the tension between his parents is palpable. Doyle was awarded the Booker Prize for this book in 1993 (beating out Canadian favourite Carol Shields' THE STONE DIARIES). Fellow novelist Nick Hornby calls Roddy Doyle "the best novelist of his generation."

I'm looking forward to laughing out loud along with Doyle's other characters in THE COMMITMENTS, A STAR CALLED HENRY, THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO DOORS and THE DEPORTEES before meeting him in October.

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