Roddy Doyle’s “The Guts”

They were sitting in the living room, sharing stuff. – Your man Roddy Doyle has a new book. – I don’t have a man. – It’s just an expression. It’s Irish. – Are there any Sheas in the new book? – That’s El Porto Irish. – What’s my man’s new book about? – Your manContinue reading “Roddy Doyle’s “The Guts””

Unmoving Literary Works; or, Needs Editing, “Ha Ha Ha”

“Ulysses could have done with a good editor,” Roddy Doyle said, fed up with all the attention Joyce gets to the neglect of other Irish writers. “I doubt that any of those people were really moved by it [Ulysses],” Doyle said. Roddy was just stirring up the stew, tossing in some new ingredients, and noContinue reading “Unmoving Literary Works; or, Needs Editing, “Ha Ha Ha””

Coelho & Doyle on Joyce

Every person alive has a story, but some don’t have voices. But there are many ways to tell a story, and stories can be told without words. Still, for the story to emerge, the storyteller must develop some kind of voice, allowing others access to their text – again, even if the text is withoutContinue reading “Coelho & Doyle on Joyce”

Happy Bloomsday!

Bloomsday, the June 16, unofficial, worldwide holiday, celebrates one of the world’s most extraordinary books, James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” June 16, 1904, is the day the book takes place. And one of the extraordinary things about the book is that its hero, Bloom, is not extraordinary at all. “The initial and determining act of judgment inContinue reading “Happy Bloomsday!”

Where we go from Greil Marcus to Humpty Dumpty

I bought two books at the Rose City Used Book Fair last Saturday, the Li Po of the previous post, and “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘N’ Roll Music,” by Greil Marcus (1975). The Marcus is a first edition hardback in excellent condition, though it’s apparently not worth much to a book collector;Continue reading “Where we go from Greil Marcus to Humpty Dumpty”

Where Winston Churchill meets Roddy Doyle; or, the Library is not a Zoo

“Fancy living in one of these streets – never seeing anything beautiful – never eating anything savoury – never saying anything clever!” The quote could easily have come from any one of Roddy Doyle’s many crude characters, hewn from a pub-lyrical pint in a Barrytown road: “Wha’ part o’ Dublin? Barrytown. Wha’ class are yis? Workin’Continue reading “Where Winston Churchill meets Roddy Doyle; or, the Library is not a Zoo”

On the Trail of Diaper Fish Wraps and Hot Hot Dogs

Larissa MacFarquhar’s “Busted” (New Yorker, Feb 1) opens and closes with dialog, a kind of journalistic Roddy Doyle: “Crrrcchh,” in which everything is revealed and nothing is resolved. The spool is running, and we are told that New York City’s Department of Investigation is on the prowl, overseeing those on the make. The DOI’s apparently a productiveContinue reading “On the Trail of Diaper Fish Wraps and Hot Hot Dogs”

Our Believer book award choices

Still reading the March/April 08 issue of the Believer, the “Film Issue.” Slavoj Zizek DVD included; have watched just the first part of it – a few ugly scenes from some lousy old horror films came too early in the DVD and we had to turn it off. That just means we are not fullyContinue reading “Our Believer book award choices”

Reading influences

“He judged on one question: influences. -Who’re your influences?” He is Jimmy Rabbitte, protagonist of Roddy Doyle’s first published book, the first novel in what would become his Barrytown Trilogy, “The Commitments.” He’s put an ad in the paper, Jimmy has: “Jimmy spent twenty minutes looking at his ad in Hot Press the next Thursday.Continue reading “Reading influences”