Love: A Novel by Roddy Doyle

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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.

7 comments on “Love: A Novel by Roddy Doyle”

  1. Congrats on your acquisition! I am so glad you enjoyed a new book from a favorite writer of whom I am completely ignorant. I hope others in your library get the same pleasure 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It takes a lot of talent to keep a reader engaged for 10 hours with not much happening until BOOM! A night of experiencing Irish pubs without leaving home; an extra bonus when we are so limited in where we can go and what we can do. Good for your library for honoring your request.

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  3. Roddy Doyle wrote The Commitments, which was made into a film. I think that is his most high-profile work. I first read The Woman Who Walked Into Walls. It knocked me flat, so I have followed him ever since. The Commitments was about young fellas who formed a band. Doyle says that his characters have aged right alongside him!

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  4. Have never read Roddy Doyle but clearly I must. I love your description of this book, especially your play-by-play of that last hour. Sounds like a book made better by audio. Heading to put it on my “for later” shelf…

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  5. Well. Now I have read Roddy Doyle. Wow. This oddly compelling book will sit with me for some time. And you are right, Teri, nothing much happens. Except, except that while nothing much happens, several lives unfold across this dialog between these two old friends. And more revealed internal dialog. And even though it never seems to amount to much, it does. And in the end, what it describes, for me, is the shape of love. In all its strange and beautiful variations. And the quotidian elements that make up a life. And love.

    And yes, what dialog. And what a fabulous reader. Thank you, Teri.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How wonderful of you to report back, JNaz. I’m glad you went there, and when you got there it was worth your time. I quote you to everyone else: “…the shape of love. In all its strange and beautiful variations.” Just so.

      Liked by 1 person

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