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A Star Called Henry (Last Roundup #01)by Roddy Doyle
Synopses & Reviews
Roddy Doyle writes like nobody?s business. Each of his titles, from The Commitments (Doyle?s debut) to The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, has earned both critical and popular acclaim. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, his funny, pitch-perfect perspective of a Dublin ten year old, won the 1993 Booker Prize.
Now, in A Star Called Henry, he?s upped the ante tenfold, producing some of the most aggressive prose you?re ever likely to read. Henry?s father?s flight, a mere sixty pages into the book, is one of the great narrative achievements of recent years.
But for all Doyle?s narrative acrobatics, his amazing new novel is, more than anything, an enthralling, spilling-over-its-sides story. On page one, Henry Smart introduces himself through the eyes of his pregnant, soon-to-be-mother right away, Doyle catches us off guard. Compared by some to the expansive fictions of Gabriel García Márquez, A Star Called Henry presents the years leading up to and following the 1916 Easter Rebellion in a wickedly crooked, dramatic light perfectly suited to the subject. Henry Smart is a big character, bigger than life. "I?ve always tried to make sure that everything that was said and done could, in fact, happen," Doyle told Powells.com, "This time around I didn?t give a toss." Dave, Powells.com
Born at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Smart lives through the evolution of modern Ireland, and in this extraordinary novel he brilliantly tells his story. From his own birth and childhood on the streets of Dublin to his role as soldier (and lover) in the Irish Rebellion, Henry recounts his early years of reckless heroism and adventure. At once an epic, a love story, and a portrait of Irish history, A Star Called Henry is a grand picaresque novel brimming with both poignant moments and comic ones, and told in a voice that is both quintessentially Irish and inimitably Roddy Doyle's.
"Doyle's most ambitious and wide-ranging work yet....He rages against [history] with an energy that spins the smart machineries of the writing, and occasionally seizes them up....The first 80 pages have the compression and expansion of a nova." Richard Eder, New York Times Book Review
"[A] teeming, hyperrealistic canvas, presented with great cheekiness....Doyle's high-wire act comes with a built-in safety net: where is the reader who can resist the pull of the picturesque Irish?" Daphne Merkin, The New Yorker
"Doyle just gets better and better....This is history evoked on an intimate and yet earth-shaking scale, with a huge dash of the blarney, some mythical embellishments and a driving narrative that never falters." Publishers Weekly
"[Doyle] breaks impressive new ground...masterly....Absolutely extraordinary. Readers who thought Doyle had outdone himself with the deftly juxtaposed comedy and drama in his recent fiction will be amazed and delighted all over again." Kirkus Reviews
"Stunning...not only Doyle's best novel yet; it is a masterpiece, an extraordinarily entertaining epic." The Washington Post
"Doyle expertly weaves his well-known wit into even the most violent and most tender passages of the tale. This is an immense story, and it's only the beginning...giving readers a lot to look forward to." Booklist
"Brawling and lyrical....Doyle vividly portrays the wild passions of an Irish Everyman...[and] the birth of the modern Irish nation." Time
"Doyle has [written an] Irish epic, and he wields the style like a sword, with the power and grace of a master." The Village Voice
"Although some of Henry's violent actions seem forced, Doyle's dialog and water and sexual imagery are sublime....Highly recommended." Library Journal
"A Star Called Henry is a triumph of craft and intelligence and toughness of mind. Doyle has not sentimentalized the past or capitulated to it." Charles Taylor, Salon.com
About the Author
Roddy Doyle is the author of five previous novels, three of which — The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van — were made into movies. The Van was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1991. Two years later Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Penguin) won the Booker Prize and was a New York Times bestseller. His most recent novel, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (Penguin), was a national bestseller. Also a screenwriter, Roddy Doyle lives in Dublin.
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