Roddy Doyle’s “The Guts”

They were sitting in the living room, sharing stuff. – Your man Roddy Doyle has a new book. – I don’t have a man. – It’s just an expression. It’s Irish. – Are there any Sheas in the new book? – That’s El Porto Irish. – What’s my man’s new book about? – Your man…

Unmoving Literary Works; or, Needs Editing, “Ha Ha Ha”

“Ulysses could have done with a good editor,” Roddy Doyle said, fed up with all the attention Joyce gets to the neglect of other Irish writers. “I doubt that any of those people were really moved by it [Ulysses],” Doyle said. Roddy was just stirring up the stew, tossing in some new ingredients, and no…

Coelho & Doyle on Joyce

Every person alive has a story, but some don’t have voices. But there are many ways to tell a story, and stories can be told without words. Still, for the story to emerge, the storyteller must develop some kind of voice, allowing others access to their text – again, even if the text is without…

Happy Bloomsday!

Bloomsday, the June 16, unofficial, worldwide holiday, celebrates one of the world’s most extraordinary books, James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” June 16, 1904, is the day the book takes place. And one of the extraordinary things about the book is that its hero, Bloom, is not extraordinary at all. “The initial and determining act of judgment in…

Where we go from Greil Marcus to Humpty Dumpty

I bought two books at the Rose City Used Book Fair last Saturday, the Li Po of the previous post, and “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘N’ Roll Music,” by Greil Marcus (1975). The Marcus is a first edition hardback in excellent condition, though it’s apparently not worth much to a book collector;…

Where Winston Churchill meets Roddy Doyle; or, the Library is not a Zoo

“Fancy living in one of these streets – never seeing anything beautiful – never eating anything savoury – never saying anything clever!” The quote could easily have come from any one of Roddy Doyle’s many crude characters, hewn from a pub-lyrical pint in a Barrytown road: “Wha’ part o’ Dublin? Barrytown. Wha’ class are yis? Workin’…

On the Trail of Diaper Fish Wraps and Hot Hot Dogs

Larissa MacFarquhar’s “Busted” (New Yorker, Feb 1) opens and closes with dialog, a kind of journalistic Roddy Doyle: “Crrrcchh,” in which everything is revealed and nothing is resolved. The spool is running, and we are told that New York City’s Department of Investigation is on the prowl, overseeing those on the make. The DOI’s apparently a productive…