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The Dead Republic: A Novel Hardcover – April 29, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (April 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021772
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,513,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Doyle digs into the modern history of Ireland in the concluding volume to the life story of Henry Smart, a teenage Sinn Fein triggerman first encountered in A Star Called Henry. Here, an aging Henry must preserve his own legend, which is taken away from him first for a film, and then by the IRA. In the mid-1940s, film director John Ford plans to make a movie based on Henry's life, but Henry eventually realizes the film that Ford has planned will reduce his story to sentimental pap. Upon returning to Ireland with Ford, Henry plans on killing the director, but his callousness has faded, and he drifts into the Dublin suburbs, where he meets a respectable widow who may be his long-disappeared wife. Henry ages in obscurity until the '70s, when the IRA uses a distorted version of Henry's story as a PR ploy; as the IRA man who runs Henry explains, we hold the copyright to the Irish story. Doyle is a stellar storyteller, though not a faultless one—characters tend to editorialize at the drop of a hat; yet Doyle exhibits a peerless ear for cynicism as he grapples with the violence and farce of Irish history. (May)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

When it comes to books in a series, readers often differ as to which one is their favorite, and The Dead Republic is no exception. Several critics found the byzantine Irish politics and the slower pace (Henry is no longer a spry young assassin, after all) a bit of a letdown. But others greatly enjoyed Doyle's final entry, which, although less action-packed than the first two entries, offers a thought-provoking account of the mythology surrounding modern Irish history. To sum it up: Doyle's latest is best suited for those interested in Ireland's recent past, as well as for those who just want to know what happened to their favorite reformed Irish hit man.

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

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lamed on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was initially disappointed with "The Dead Republic" after I finished it because it didn't have the grab of "A Star Called Henry". Henry has always been a hard character to like, and this is more so in Doyle's new novel. But, I've let the book settle a bit. There are overtones throughout that render "The Dead Republic" unique and a fitting end point to the trilogy.

By the mid to late 20th century, Henry Smart has now become a much-admired and sentimental reminder of the Easter Rising of 1916. The director, John Ford, uses Henry as an IRA consultant to develop "The Quiet Man" (yes, the film with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara) in part, because Ford has the emerald-isle view of the Ireland he never lived and Smart represents. Then, in the 1970's and 1980's, the IRA keeps Smart in their midst for their purposes, despite the fact that some of the things Smart is credited for during the Irish Civil War, he never did. (No spoilers here). It's all become mired in history.

I quite liked "The Dead Republic" for these reasons. Roddy Doyle hits the reader hard with the false and delusional sentiments of the Ireland-that-never-was and reminds us what it was to be Irish, and living in poverty, particularly during the Troubles.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thirty-five years after Henry Smart became one of the heroes of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, Henry is in Hollywood, where he is an "IRA consultant" to director John Ford, who plans to make a film about Henry's life. The making of this film and its aftermath become a major focus of this final novel in the "The Last Round-Up" trilogy which author Roddy Doyle had intended to reflect Ireland's history from its independence to the present day. A STAR CALLED HENRY, the first of the series, establishes Henry's background as a poverty-stricken child and the reasons for his willingness to put his life on the line in the General Post Office takeover in 1916, when he was only fourteen, and follows him through the War for Independence from 1919 - 1922. The second book of the trilogy, OH, PLAY THAT THING, takes Henry, on the lam from mobsters in Ireland in 1922, to Chicago and eventually Hollywood.

At the outset of this third novel, Henry meets director John Ford, who begins talks with him about a film he plans to make about Henry's life--"The Quiet Man." Ford wants to celebrate Ireland's beauty (and sell more tickets) by removing all references to the War for Independence and the IRA. "No one gets shot in the back. No one gets shot at all," Ford declares, though this is not the Ireland that Henry has seen up close and personal as an IRA assassin. When Henry abandons the project, Ford goes on to make "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara--a sentimental romance celebrating the Ireland that Ford and many other Irish-Americans want to remember. In Part II, Henry, now fifty, is in Ireland, working as a caretaker at a school for underprivileged boys and living a quiet life, until he is eventually "called" again by the IRA.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the final episode in the Henry Smart trilogy, the earlier books being A Star Called Henry (The Last Roundup) and Oh, Play That Thing (Volume 2 of The Last Roundup). I loved the first volume, with the excitement and fast pace of the young Henry as he survives and connives in the smutty Dublin of the Easter uprising and the Irish Civil War.

The intervening years have been hard on Henry who lost a leg in the 2nd volume thanks to a train. The Dead Republic starts off with Henry's rescue and abuse at the hands of John Ford. The abuse happening as Ford uses Henry's intimate knowledge of Ireland during the war to create the script for The Quiet Man (Collector's Edition). If you've seen this movie, you know that it represents Ireland in the same way that Ford's movies often show the US, with all the grime and grittiness polished away to an often simpler version of real life.

After walking away from Ford, Henry settles in a quiet village and becomes a gardener. He's running away from the ghosts of his earlier life in Ireland. But eventually some of them find him and he becomes a tool of some wing of the IRA, and the Irish special branch - part of the Irish police force. He encounters the violence of Northern Ireland when bombs exploded in Dublin, and Doyle does a great job of portraying the general feeling of decay in the 1970s and 80s in Ireland.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Boersig on October 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Roddy Doyle was at his best in his previous books. I loved the first book of the trilogy: "A Star Called Henry;" the second book was Ok but it kept going downhill. The end of the book was better but all the John Wayne and Hollywood stuff left me cold. Doyle's earlier books, especially "Paddy Clark, Ha Ha" were memorable reads for me, but this last book left me flat.
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