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Trouble brewing

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OLDIE NOVEL OF THE MONTH: Smile by Roddy Doyle

Like his contemporary Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle enjoyed an enormous success with his first novel. Hornby’s Fever Pitch and Doyle’s The Commitments were both turned into successful films – and, in The Commitments’ case, a musical too. They each celebrated the intense camaraderie of failure and the nervy exultation of success, capturing the energy and longing of a generation. Hornby in London and Doyle in Dublin recorded the demotic of their era to perfection. No one is better than Doyle at capturing the casual rudeness, hidden affection and dark wit of pub banter. In the Guinness Book of Records, he’d certainly hold the record for the most uses of the word eejit in literature. More bestsellers followed; more film adaptations. Doyle began to examine bleaker subject matter, most notably in his brilliant novel about domestic violence, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors. But what his readers expect – and possibly...


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