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Doyle, Roddy

van rabbitte trilogy woman

(Irish, 1958– )

Doyle worked as a teacher in the working-class areas of north Dublin that he depicts so successfully in his novels. His Barrytown trilogy, The Commitments (1988), The Snapper (1990), and The Van (1991) describes the attempts of the Rabbitte family to gain fame, fortune, and an escape from the poverty which surrounds them. In The Commitments, turned into a popular film by Alan Parker, Jimmy Rabbitte forms an American-influenced ‘soul’ band, which founders as the band members descend into violent antipathy. In The Snapper, Jimmy's sister gets pregnant and asserts a sense of self within the claustrophobic family atmosphere. In The Van, the Rabbitte men renovate a fish and chip van, a project doomed to failure when it runs into trouble with rival vendors. In 1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won the Booker Prize. This is an account of the life of a 10-year-old boy on a Dublin council estate, alternately hilarious and moving. The Woman Who Walked into Doors (1996) is different from Doyle's earlier books, a stark description of a woman who is the subject of continual physical abuse. Doyle's most recent project is a historical trilogy. A Star Called Henry (1999) is the first volume of this trilogy, in which the eponymous hero features in all the crucial events of Irish history this century. Doyle's style is fast-paced and colloquial, and is one of the reasons why so many people find his books so approachable.

Patrick McCabe, James Kelman.

See CHILDHOOD, FILM ADAPTATIONS, IRELAND  LM

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