From Publishers Weekly
Doyle's dynamic first collection of short stories offers light and heartfelt perspectives on the effects of immigration on Irish culture. Originally serialized for a Dublin newspaper, all eight stories draw from the conceit of someone born in Ireland [who] meets someone who has come to live there. The opener, Guess Who's Coming for the Dinner, covers familiar ground—a self-proclaimed modern father is taken aback when his daughter invites a black fella to dinner—but Doyle's wry sense of humor saves the narrative from triteness. Fans of Doyle's previous work will revel in the title story, a follow-up to The Commitments
that finds Jimmy Rabbitte masterminding a multicultural revival of Woody Guthrie music. The later stories find Doyle experimenting with different styles and voices: New Boy charts an unlikely friendship between a nine-year-old African immigrant and two small, angry Irish boys, while Black Hoodie finds a timid, indifferent teenager discovering his passion for civil rights and a Nigerian girl. There are some abrupt endings that veer toward the convenient, though this may be an unavoidable consequence of their serial origins. Doyle's immense talent as a writer is neatly showcased throughout, and his sharp wit adds a richness to every tale. (Jan.)
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Roddy Doyle, celebrated chronicler of the Irish working class and winner of the 1993 Man Booker Prize (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
), turns his attention to the immigrant experience in his first collection of short stories. The stories collected here first appeared in 800-word installments in the Dublin weekly newspaper Metro Eireann
, which was founded in 2000 by two Nigerian journalists. Critics agreed that The Deportees
is vintage Doyle, demonstrating his sharp wit, lively sense of humor, richly drawn characters, and ear for dialogue. They cited some problems related to the space limitations of serial publications, which result in stories that "are generally instantly engaging but not always carefully constructed" (Christian Science Monitor
), but these problems were easy to ignore given Doyles extraordinary storytelling abilities. As in any collection, critics disagreed about which stories succeed best. By turns poignant and chilling, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, Doyles stories are as affecting as his novels.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.