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Roddy Doyle Biography

(1958– ), Brownbread, War, The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van, The Barrytown Trilogy

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) Biography to Dutch

Irish novelist and playwright, born in Dublin, educated at University College, Dublin. He became a teacher at Greendale Community School, Dublin, in 1980. Like his contemporary, Dermot Bolger, Doyle is concerned with the people who live on the housing estates of north Dublin. However, his work differs from that of the more surreal Bolger in approaching its subject with a vibrant humour and gentleness which belie the ‘honest language’ and anarchic impulses of Doyle's highly memorable characters. His plays, such as Brownbread (1987) and War (1989), and his ‘Barrytown’ novels, The Commitments (1987) and The Snapper (1989) are, in essence, series of loud and fast conversations. His highly acclaimed novel The Van (1991), which continues the saga of the Rabbitt family begun in his first two novels, portrays the soccer madness which hit Dublin during Italia '90. All three novels were published as The Barrytown Trilogy in 1992. There are film versions of The Commitments (by Alan Parker) and The Snapper (directed by Stephen Frears). Doyle received the Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993); set in Dublin in 1968, the novel conveys the exuberance and bewilderment of its 10-year-old narrator and his estimation of his parents' floundering marriage. Doyle recreates the rhythm and language of childhood, together with the strange logic produced by a child's avid quest for information but partial understanding of the world. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors appeared in 1996.

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