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The Guts by Roddy Doyle

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

The Commitments was the first novel in Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy about a set of friends trying to make their lives better in 80s Dublin. More than 20 years later The Guts throws us back into their world as, older and coming to grips with their own mortality, we revisit the gang. As brilliant and funny as the original and in Doyle’s stark inimitable style it is a raw contemplation of life, family, cancer, friendship and how times change.

If you like Roddy Doyle you might also like to read books by Donal Ryan, David Nobbs and Stephen Fry.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Guts by Roddy Doyle

Jimmy Rabbitte is back. The man who invented the Commitments back in the eighties is now forty-seven, with a loving wife, four kids ...and bowel cancer. He isn't dying, he thinks, but he might be. Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle - his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay money for their resurrected singles and albums. On his path through Dublin he meets two of the Commitments - Outspan, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever. He is reunited with his long-lost brother and learns to play the trumpet. This warm, funny novel is about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life. It climaxes in one of the great passages in Roddy Doyle's fiction: four middle-aged men at Ireland's hottest rock festival watching Jimmy's son Marvin's band Moanin' at Midnight pretending to be Bulgarian and playing a song called 'I'm Going to Hell' that apparently hasn't been heard since 1932. Why? You'll have to read The Guts to find out.

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The novel is probably the most contemplative that Doyle has written - as a meditation on the importance of family, it is at times almost unbearably moving. -- Edmund Gordon Sunday Times

A visceral tragicomedy - as raw and as funny as anything [Doyle's] written. -- Olivia Cole GQ

Remarkable, relevant and, surprisingly for a book that's ostensibly about cancer, joyful. -- Kevin Maher The Times

About the Author

Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. His first novel, The Commitments, was published to great acclaim in 1987 and was made into a very successful film in 1991. The Snapper was published in 1990 and has also been made into a film. His third novel, The Van, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was also made into a film. Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha won the 1993 Booker Prize. His most recent novel is A Star Called Henry. He lives in Dublin.

Photo © Amelia Stein

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Book Info

Publication date

26th June 2014


Roddy Doyle

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Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


352 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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