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The Barrytown Trilogy Paperback – September 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

Review

     • "Mr. Doyle has made his own the gritty world of modern Dublin." --New York Times 

   • "An absurd comedy of the commonplace...a charming, truthful and immensely funny story which leaves you gasping for more." --Sunday Times on The Commitments 

   • "A superb creation, exploding with cheerful chauvinism and black Celtic humour... You finish the book hungry for more." --The Times on The Snapper 

   • "A wonderfully funny book, that crackles and spits like fat in the fryer. It is also very touching... fine entertainment." --Daily Telegraph on The Van 

   • A new edition of the trilogy with a wonderful new jacket --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Roddy Doyle is an internationally bestselling writer. His first three novels—The Commitments, The Snapper, and the 1991 Booker Prize finalist The Van—are known as The Barrytown Trilogy. He is also the author of the novels Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993 Booker Prize winner), The Woman Who Walked into Doors, and A Star Called Henry, and a non-fiction book about his parents, Rory & Ita. Doyle has also written for the stage and the screen: the plays Brownbread, War, Guess Who's Coming for the Dinner, and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors; the film adaptations of The Commitments )as co-writer), The Snapper, and The Van; When Brendan Met Trudy (an original screenplay); the four-part television series Family for the BBC; and the television play Hell for Leather. Roddy Doyle has also written the children's books The Giggler Treatment, Rover Saves Christmas, and The Meanwhile Adventures and contributed to a variety of publications including The New Yorker magazine and several anthologies. He lives in Dublin.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Open market ed edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140252622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140252620
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roddy Doyle is the author of eight novels, a collection of stories, and Rory & Ita, a memoir of his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He lives and works in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 116 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2" on December 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
It may seem unlikely now, but when Roddy Doyle's The Commitments was first published in 1987 it was the first Irish novel in years that represented the way people actually spoke, actually drank, actually spent an evening out, actually failed to have big sensitive inner issues trembling for expressiveness and so on. It was already a bit dated in its picture of the bottom level of Irish music (bands wouldn't be heard dead playing soul back then, they were all buying digital delay pedals and trying to sound like U2) but nobody could deny that Doyle had the best ear in the country. Well, actually they could, and did, but neither he nor his readership paid any attention. (Doyle is the only living "literary" writer in Ireland to have a seriously major working-class readership.) In my opinion, these books get better as you go along - though the film of The Snapper is far superior to the other two. Doyle got a lot of stick from Irish reviewers for not showing working-class Dublin life as a vicious urban hell, but his excuse was that it wasn't, not all the time anyway; the fractious but ultimately loyal Rabbittes are representative. (Interesting that when he did show a darker version of this life - in the TV series Family - he got attacked for being unrealistic.) Doyle writes better dialogue than any Irish novelist alive; I suspect he learned the value of it from American realism, and from the theatre company (Passion Machine) he used to write plays for, rather than from the previous generation of Irish novelists. His faithfulness to what the eye sees and the ear hears, as opposed to what the tradition demands, marks him as a distinctly un-Irish writer, even if his material is strictly here and now. He's a new voice, and thank God in these times of green and muddy Irish writing, an urban one (believe me, reading these books is _not_ like being in a village pub). All hail. Mine's a short.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Jimmy, Jr.'s band, Sharon's (way) out-of-wedlock baby, Jimmy Sr.'s mid-life crisis - these are the events that we follow with great interest as the story of the Rabbitte family of Barrytown unfolds. We can't help but laugh and empathize with this Irish working class clan as they struggle (raucously, emotionally, obscenely) through the pathos, trials and rewards of their lives. Doyle attacks the pride and prejudice of his kinsmen with cutting humor and compassion. These characters not only come alive off the pages - they live very deeply in what may otherwise appear to be a superficial existence. There is no high gloss sheen to cover over the harsh edges and sore spots - the picture is real and complete, and much funnier because of it. Good for you, Roddy Doyle, The Barrytown Trilogy is great gas, tha'. Grand, really.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Daniel V. Reilly VINE VOICE on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Roddy Doyle must be some kind of genius...I was absolutely hooked right from page 1 of The Barrytown Trilogy, which collects Doyle's three books about The Rabbitte family, a large, loving clan in working-class Dublin, Ireland.
The first book is The Commitments, which details the efforts of young Jimmy Rabbitte Jr. to form a soul band, not an easy task in mid-80's Ireland. The second book, The Snapper, revolves around Jimmy Jr.'s sister Sharon; She's pregnant (Out of wedlock), and won't reveal who the father is. The final book, The Van, centers on their recently unemployed dad, Jimmy Sr.; He teams up with his pal Bimbo to buy a Chip Van, and hilarity ensues...
Doyle peppers the books with Irish slang that might slide right past most American readers, but don't let that deter you; You'll be up to speed in no time. The characters are wonderfully written, and it's a real joy to read about a LOVING Irish family for a change. I laughed out loud more times than I could count, and I loved the book so much I finished it in no time. And then I was sad it was over....Highly recommended. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll wish you were a Rabbitte!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Though Doyle never intended to write a trilogy, his first three novels are so true-to-life and so representative of north Dublin that it is easy to see why they are now grouped as a "trilogy." All are set in the same blighted neighborhood, an area of overcrowded tenements, unemployment, and hardscrabble living, but also an area full of life, dreams for the future, rowdy friendships centered around the pub, and close families. Focusing on various members of the Rabbitte family, the novels show life as it is really lived here, with moments of high humor and often hilarious interactions alternating with moments of sad realization and broken dreams.

In The Commitments, Jimmy Rabbitte, Jr. forms a soul band from neighborhood musicians and singers, the band offering its members the opportunity to feel successful--at something! The Snapper concerns teenager Sharon Rabbitte, who, after a wild night at the pub, discovers she is expecting a little "snapper" by a man she loathes but will not identify. Sharon's pregnancy is a source of tension with her father, especially since there are already five other children in the family. The Van focuses on the father, Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr., now unemployed, who goes to work with his best friend Bimbo, who has bought a "chips" van for selling burgers, fish, and chips at sporting events, an experience that tests the friendship.

The dialogue throughout these novels is lightning-fast, filled with local dialect, crude profanities, witticisms, and can-you-top-this insults. In this neighborhood, survival is based on toughness and the ability to think quickly on one's feet, and the dialogue often resembles a stage play more than a novel. Characterization, which is thin in The Commitments gradually becomes more complex in later novels.
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