Nominated by:

Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Publisher of nominated edition:

Jonathan Cape, UK

Smile

Roddy Doyle    

Just moved into a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s pub for a pint, a slow one. One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and a pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor’s name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick. Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories too – of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio. But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control – and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.

About the author

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of eleven acclaimed novels including The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van, two collections of short stories, Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents, and most recently, The Guts. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments:

It’s not very much a boy, a man, wants and it’s all he wants,  to be among the pals, to use the same words, the same meanings. But it is rough to grow up in Dublin in the seventies with the rigid rules of the Christian Brothers school, and no father as a role model. But somehow Victor Forde, the protagonist, manages. With the celebrity wife from the other side of the city he becomes “someone else”. He starts a writing career and a permanent struggle to finish the book he wants to publish. But then – his marriage broken, his book unfinished,  he meets someone from school days. And it comes to show, you cannot escape. Roddy Doyle leads us to dream. To dream that a difficult start in life can be overcome. Yes, there is a hint of a difficult experience at school. But all went well in the end. Or did it ? A sinister story yet with local colour like “Angela’s Ashes”.

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