Synopses & Reviews
Roddy Doyle's irrepressible Irish rebel Henry Smart is back — and he is not mellowing with age.
Saved from death in California's Monument Valley by none other than Henry Fonda, he ends up in Hollywood collaborating with legendary director John Ford on a script based on his life. Returning to Ireland in 1951 to film The Quiet Man — which to Henry's consternation has been completely sentimentalized — he severs his relationship with Ford. His career in film over, Henry settles into a quiet life in a village north of Dublin, where he finds work as a caretaker for a boys' school and takes up with a woman named Missus O'Kelly, whom he suspects — but is not quite sure — may be his long-lost wife, the legendary Miss O'Shea. After being injured in a political bombing in Dublin in 1974, Henry is profiled in the newspaper and suddenly the secret of his rebel past is out. Henry is a national hero. Or are his troubles just beginning?
Raucous, colorful, epic, and full of intrigue and incident, The Dead Republic is also a moving love story — the magnificent final act in the life of one of Roddy Doyle's most unforgettable characters.
"Doyle digs into the modern history of Ireland in the concluding volume to the life story of Henry Smart, a teenage Sinn Fein triggerman first encountered in A Star Called Henry. Here, an aging Henry must preserve his own legend, which is taken away from him first for a film, and then by the IRA. In the mid-1940s, film director John Ford plans to make a movie based on Henry's life, but Henry eventually realizes the film that Ford has planned will reduce his story to sentimental pap. Upon returning to Ireland with Ford, Henry plans on killing the director, but his callousness has faded, and he drifts into the Dublin suburbs, where he meets a respectable widow who may be his long-disappeared wife. Henry ages in obscurity until the '70s, when the IRA uses a distorted version of Henry's story as a PR ploy; as the IRA man who runs Henry explains, 'we hold the copyright' to the Irish story. Doyle is a stellar storyteller, though not a faultless one characters tend to editorialize at the drop of a hat; yet Doyle exhibits a peerless ear for cynicism as he grapples with the violence and farce of Irish history." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"...a work of fiction that leaves the reader profoundly enlightened about the true Ireland in all its terrible glory." San Francisco Chronicle
"A challenging novel, by turns funny, romantic, suspenseful, and dark.... The heart and soul of the novel, however, is Doyle's searing and savage indictment of Irish politics — and the devastation of the country he loves." Philadelphia Inquirer
"[I]f you don't already know Henry, The Dead Republic is an excellent place to meet him — because it's the best of Doyle's trilogy..." New York Times
"Doyle suggests that there is no escape for anyone with a past that others have claimed for themselves.... A triumphant tale from a lyrical and thoughtful storyteller." Library Journal
"Henry Smart, the hero of Roddy Doyle's trilogy The Last Roundup, has a long fight with Ford in The Dead Republic
, the concluding volume in the series. Smart is angry at Ford for appropriating his life story and sentimentalizing it in The Quiet Man
, and takes his frustration out on the old director, whipping him with a rosary and breaking his fingers while punching him." Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
(Read the entire Oregonian review
Saved from death in California's Monument Valley by none other than Henry Fonda, Irish rebel Henry Smart ends up in Hollywood collaborating with legendary director John Ford on a script based on his life.
The triumphant conclusion to the trilogy that began with A Star Called Henry.
Henry Smart is back. It is 1946, and Henry has crawled into the desert of Utah's Monument Valley to die. He's stumbled onto a film set though, and ends up in Hollywood collaborating with John Ford on a script based on his life. Eventually, Henry finds himself back in Ireland, where he becomes a custodian, and meets up with a woman who may or may not be his long-lost wife. After being injured in a political bombing in Dublin, the secret of his rebel past comes out, and Henry is a national hero. Or are his troubles just beginning? Raucous, colorful, and epic, The Dead Republic is the magnificent final act in the life of one of Doyle's most unforgettable characters.
About the Author
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of 6 acclaimed novels, and Rory and Ita, a memoir of his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.