Roddy Doyle is one of my favorite writers, so I was jazzed when I saw that a new book had just been published in May of this year. The library system didn’t have it on order, so for the first time I did what y’all told me: I put in an acquisition request. And, lo and behold, in short order an email came to tell me that the online audiobook was available for me to borrow! Yes. We have to appreciate such unexpected pleasures these days.
I’m so glad that I was able to LISTEN to Doyle’s great dialogue. The book is, in large part, dialogue. The reader’s command of the Irish accents, and his timing (especially his comedic timing) are everything you’d ever want. Give that guy a bonus, Roddy! I’ve since looked at a preview of the printed book on the internet, and it pales in comparison.
Two Dublin fellas walk into a pub…or, rather, pub after pub…and drink pint after pint after pint, and the reader has a seat at the bar. Davy and Joe were drinking buddies way back in the day when they could first be served. They see each other infrequently, when Davy comes back to Dublin to visit his father. Both of them have pretty much quit drinking but this long, long night is something different. Tongues loosen, language deteriorates as time goes on. It’s pretty hilarious. The novel is in the first person, with Davy as the narrator, and we are inside Davy’s head as he alternatively listens to Joe trying so hard to tell him…something…and has flashbacks to the past which slowly reveal a story. I kept thinking that it was like the Seinfeld show being “about nothing” but full of delights.
So, the book is 11 hours long and nothing really happens in the present until BOOM something does happen literally in the final hour. Gosh. I won’t be responsible for a Spoiler, just in case y’all ever read it. But I will tell you that it was quite a visceral experience to see that last hour ticking away at the bottom of the screen. At the half-hour mark I started a process of stopping it and walking away for a bit and inside 15 minutes I started repeatedly turn it off and on because I couldn’t do otherwise, even though I was telling myself it was ridiculous. Just finish the dang thing. But, there you are. That’s what happened…to me.