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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
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The Guts

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The Guts Cover

ISBN13: 9780670016433
ISBN10: 0670016438
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jimmy Rabbitte of The Commitments returns in the triumphant new novel from the Booker Prize–winning author

The distinct wit and lively, authentic dialogue that are the hallmarks of Roddy Doyle's fiction are on a full display as he reintroduces Jimmy Rabbitte in this follow-up to his beloved debut novel The Commitments.

In the 1980s Jimmy Rabbitte formed the Commitments, a ragtag, blue-collar collective of Irish youths determined to bring the soul music stylings of James Brown and Percy Sledge to Dublin. Time proves a great equalizer for Jimmy as he's now approaching fifty with a loving wife, four kids, and a recent cancer diagnosis that leaves him feeling shattered and frightened.

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 for their resurrected albums. As he battles his illness on his path through Dublin, Jimmy manages to reconnect with his own past, most notably Commitments guitarist Liam “Outspan” Foster and the still beautiful backup vocalist Imelda Quirk. Jimmy also learns the trumpet, reunites with his long-lost brother, and rediscovers the joys of fatherhood.

An immensely funny and poignant novel, The Guts captures friendship, family, the power of music, the specter of death, and the zeal for life.

Review:

“[A] hilarious and tender sequel to The Commitments....Doyle's witty and lively ninth novel captures much of the fun of The Commitments, even as the Commitments themselves struggle with a notably more sobering world around them.” Publishers Weekly

Review:

“It's rare to read about a mans midlife crisis...and burst out laughing.  Yet acclaimed Irish author Doyle pulls it off...there are plenty of poignant moments among the laughs, too...this work is too good to miss.” Library Journal

Review:

“Doyle expertly evokes the generational confusion over new technologies, the sentimentality of children growing up way too fast, and the sobering fear and anxiety of living with a potentially fatal disease — all of this without being overly morbid or maudlin.” ALA Booklist

Review:

“The novel is probably the most contemplative that Doyle has written — as a meditation on the importance of family, it is at times unbearably moving….The characters are all so warm and funny and irritable, so brimming with rude life, that this novel about illness and death never manages to become morbid…reading The Guts is like catching up with old friends.” The Sunday Times (U.K.)

Review:

“Remarkable, relevant and, surprisingly for a book that's ostensibly about cancer, joyful….The Guts is a book about a dogged search for meaning in the overwhelming face of mortality — but funnier than that sounds. And softer, too.” The Times (U.K.)

Review:

“Fantastic….In many ways, The Guts is about a man facing up to whether the best of his life — and possibly all of his life — is past…the book embraces the comedy of life as well as the tragedy, as is Doyle's wont.” The Sunday Independent (U.K.)

Review:

“Hilarious and beautifully observed….In The Guts, Doyle turns once more to those themes he has always written about so singularly: love and the family…the dialogue, like music, carries the narrative compellingly forward.” The Irish Times

About the Author

Roddy Doyle is the author of nine novels, two short story collections, and a nonfiction book. In 1993 he won the Booker Prize for his novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His 1991 novel, The Van, was a Booker Prize finalist. He lives in Dublin.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

kas, March 1, 2014 (view all comments by kas)
***The Guts: Not the Literary Fiction Style I Know & Love, But More Valuable Reading Experience for that Very Reason

Bottom Line: Whether old fan or new initiate, I recommend Roddy Doyle's The Guts highly. I believe most readers would be sorry to miss the example of masterful literary craftsmanship that is evidenced throughout this book in the form of Doyle's distinctive dialogue.

Discussion: The Guts wasn't exactly what I expected; I cannot remember the last time I read a novel that included so much dialogue. I read a lot of literary fiction, and certainly the authors of these works typically include a significantly higher percentage of narration than dialogue. One wonders if the author more easily maintains greater control over the text's meaning in a narrative style; is some strength or ability to be direct lost when putting more of the story in characters' mouths?

In any case, it was a very interesting -- and unusually valuable -- diversion in form from most novels I read, but it took some time for me to get used to it. I had to become familiar with the rhythm, local Irish vocabulary and sense of humor of the characters. I got the hang of it eventually and found the novel a decidedly rewarding read. I particularly recommend it to any reader who, like myself, reads narrator-dominated novels. It's good to switch things up I find; it exercises the intellect and the imagination in my experience.

For other readers, this work has plenty of appeal. To understate it grossly, I'll say that Roddy Doyle is a strong writer whose dialogue is not without some semblance to poetry. You can just imagine the effusive praise that would be here if I were totally truthful. Or, just go check it out! Thanks for reading my views. I appreciate the opportunity to explore this major release in advance of official publication provided through the First to Read program of Penguin Books.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670016433
Author:
Doyle, Roddy
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20140123
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
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History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Featured Titles

The Guts Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Viking Adult - English 9780670016433 Reviews:
"Review" by , “[A] hilarious and tender sequel to The Commitments....Doyle's witty and lively ninth novel captures much of the fun of The Commitments, even as the Commitments themselves struggle with a notably more sobering world around them.”
"Review" by , “It's rare to read about a mans midlife crisis...and burst out laughing.  Yet acclaimed Irish author Doyle pulls it off...there are plenty of poignant moments among the laughs, too...this work is too good to miss.”
"Review" by , “Doyle expertly evokes the generational confusion over new technologies, the sentimentality of children growing up way too fast, and the sobering fear and anxiety of living with a potentially fatal disease — all of this without being overly morbid or maudlin.”
"Review" by , “The novel is probably the most contemplative that Doyle has written — as a meditation on the importance of family, it is at times unbearably moving….The characters are all so warm and funny and irritable, so brimming with rude life, that this novel about illness and death never manages to become morbid…reading The Guts is like catching up with old friends.”
"Review" by , “Remarkable, relevant and, surprisingly for a book that's ostensibly about cancer, joyful….The Guts is a book about a dogged search for meaning in the overwhelming face of mortality — but funnier than that sounds. And softer, too.”
"Review" by , “Fantastic….In many ways, The Guts is about a man facing up to whether the best of his life — and possibly all of his life — is past…the book embraces the comedy of life as well as the tragedy, as is Doyle's wont.”
"Review" by , “Hilarious and beautifully observed….In The Guts, Doyle turns once more to those themes he has always written about so singularly: love and the family…the dialogue, like music, carries the narrative compellingly forward.”
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