Roddy Doyle

Author of the Month

Irish writer Roddy Doyle made his mark with the publication of the ‘Barrytown trilogy’ – The Commitments (1988), The Snapper (1990), and The Van (1991) – which presented difficult issues through his highly accessible writing. His work, which is characterized by rich humour and highly relatable references to popular culture – alongside his remarkable rendition of working-class Dublin slang – has reinvented the modern Irish novel as an authentic representation of the experiences of everyday Irish life.

Doyle’s first novel, The Commitments was made into a successful film by the Alan Parker, but it was Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha (1993), his most accomplished novel, that won a Booker Prize for the bleak portrait of marital breakdown witnessed through the sensitive and naïve eyes of the ten-year old protagonist Paddy.

As well as his novels for adults he has written a biography about Roy Keane called The Second Half, a book about his parents and several books for children.

If there is a heaven, Jane Austen is sitting in a small room with Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, listening to Duran Duran, forever. If there’s a hell, she’s standing.”
― Roddy Doyle

The Commitments
The Commitments are a band with a mission – bringing soul to Dublin. Led by Jimmy Rabitte, a man with ambition, coached by Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan, an old man with a trumpet, protected by Mickah Wallace, owner of the most feared forehead in Barrytown.

The Snapper
This story introduces the Rabbitte family, a motley bunch of loveable ne’er-do-wells. When the older sister announces her pregnancy, the family are forced to rally round and discover the strangeness of intimacy.

The Van
The third instalment of the ‘Barrytown trilogy’, The Van depicts the hilarious yet poignant adventures of Bimbo. Upon being fired from his job at the bakery, Bimbo and his best mate go into business for themselves and purchase a chipper; but will the pressures of financial success sour their friendship forever?

Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha
It is 1968. Paddy Clarke is ten years old, breathless with discovery. He reads with a child’s voraciousness, collecting facts the way adults collect grey hairs and parking tickets.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
In one of his finest novels, Doyle tells the story of Paula Spencer, a working-class, alcoholic, battered woman in her 30s. From this bleak subject-matter, he creates a funny, tender, shocking and moving novel.

Bullfighting’ is Roddy Doyle’s eagerly anticipated second collection; a series of bittersweet tales about men and middle age, revealing a panorama of Ireland today.

Two Pints
Two men meet for a pint in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights and take the piss. They talk of their wives, children, pets, football teams and about the Euro and mourn the deaths of Whitney Houston and Robin Gibb.

The Guts
Jimmy Rabbitte is back. The man who invented the Commitments back in the eighties is now 47, with a loving wife, four kids – and bowel cancer. 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.

Two For The Road
Two men meet for a pint, or three, in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights and mourn friends gone: David Bowie, Prince, Princess Leia, and Young Frankenstein. Around them the world of Brexit, Trump, and referendums storm, but some things – good things – never change. Inspired by the last five years of news, Roddy Doyle’s ‘Two for the Road’ offers a strong brew of Roddy Doyle’s comic genius – to be downed in one riotous sitting, or savoured over, laugh after laugh.

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