Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
A Star Called Henry (Last... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Text appears clean. Tight binding. Slight wear. No disc, access code or other accessories. Book only. SHIPS DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON! Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping and PRIME. Tracking is included. Easy return policy.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Star Called Henry (Last Roundup) Paperback – October 5, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Last Roundup Series

See all 31 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$4.95 $0.01

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$16.05 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • A Star Called Henry (Last Roundup)
  • +
  • The Last September
  • +
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics)
Total price: $33.89
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood." The quote is from Frank McCourt's memoir of growing up impoverished in Limerick, circa World War II. But the sentiment might just as easily have come from the fictional lips of Henry Smart, the hero of Roddy Doyle's remarkable novel of Dublin in the teens, A Star Called Henry. The son of a one-legged hit man, young Henry is the third child born but the first to live through infancy. He is also the second Henry--the first having died, and become a star in the mind of his mother.
She held me but she looked up at her twinkling boy. Poor me beside her, pale and red-eyed, held together by rashes and sores. A stomach crying to be filled, bare feet aching like an old, old man's. Me, a shocking substitute for the little Henry who'd been too good for this world, the Henry God had wanted for himself. Poor me.
Soon, his father has all but abandoned the growing family, and at 9 Henry is on his own, running wild in the streets, thieving to stay alive. Depressing as all this sounds, Doyle has invested his narrator with such an appetite for life, and rendered him so resolutely unsorry for himself, that it seems almost insulting to pity him.

By the time he is 14, Henry has become a soldier in the new Irish Republican Army and in one long and harrowing chapter, we view the events of the Easter Rising of 1916 from his position in the thick of it. It's not a pretty sight by any means, as the populace is divided in its support and various factions within the Republican Army threaten to splinter and annihilate one another before the British even get there. When the shooting starts, Henry aims not at the British but at the store windows across the street. "I shot and killed all that I had been denied, all the commerce and snobbery that had been mocking me and other hundreds of thousands behind glass and locks, all the injustice, unfairness and shoes--while the lads took chunks out of the military." Though the uprising is eventually crushed and the leaders executed, Henry escapes to live--and fight--another day.

In previous books such as The Barrytown Trilogy, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, and The Woman Who Walked into Doors, Doyle has established himself as one of the premiere chroniclers of modern Irish life. With A Star Called Henry, he works his singular magic on the past. What's more, this is only volume one of the Last Roundup, so it looks like we haven't seen the last of Henry Smart. And that's a very good thing, indeed. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hardy Irishman Doyle delivers his prose in a mellifluous outpouring, gentle in its use of language but harsh in its cutting observations. The beauty of Doyle's words, heightened in spoken presentation, is especially affecting in the opening section, which describes the tough childhood of his Dublin hero, Henry Smart (strongly evoking Dickens and Joyce). Henry is an orphan, left behind by his motherA"ruined beyond repair" at his birth. His father, a one-legged enforcer at a local brothel, doesn't last long either. Living on the streets at age nine, Henry is the sole protector of his consumptive younger brother. His circumstances never get him down, though, because he knows that he is "the brightest spark in a city full of bright and desperate sparks." As the plot develops (Henry takes part in the 1916 Easter uprising and joins the fledgling Irish Republican Army, evolving into a warrior and a leader), Doyle's story becomes more linear, more like a standard action thriller. Yet he never fails listeners with his strong storytelling skills, which will keep all keenly tuned. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Last Roundup
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143034618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143034612
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A Star Called Henry is probably far more accurate in its portrayal of Ireland in the last years of British rule than many would realise. The activities of the members of Michael Collins' "Squad" were much like those performed by Henry Smart, who was, in the novel, on the periphery of possibly the most effective counter-intellegence agency in the world. Roddy Doyle's excellent novel captures the period as well as anything I have hitherto read on the subject. He captures the feeling of Dubliners towards the Easter Rising, before and after the executions, and the attitude of those beyond the Pale (English-controlled region around Dublin, where the phrase comes from) to the "jackeens". Henry's delay in leaving Ireland was, I believe, not as surprising as some seem to think. Henry had great loyalty towards Michael Collins, similar to his feelings towards James Connolly, a debt of honour, if you will, that kept him from abandoning him while that was unresolved. After his betrayal and the death of Collins, he was free to leave the country. These attributes are visible in the character of Henry Smart, and are a major influence on his actions. His various loyalties are strong and are probably the driving force of his life.
Before A Star Called Henry, I wasn't much a fan of Roddy Doyle the author, preferring the film versions of the Barrytown Trilogy, but I await with anticipation the remaining books in his latest Trilogy.
Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
One of the great perils for successful authors must be that point when they decide to 'stretch' their creative wings. The horror writers pens an introspective character study (Stephen King - ROADWORK). The English satirist attempts an American crime novel (Martin Amis - NIGHT TRAIN). The crime novelist delves into science fiction (Walter Mosley - BLUE LIGHT). At times like this, the fan base holds its collective breath, hoping for the best, fearing the worst. After all, why mess with a good thing?
A STAR CALLED HENRY, thank God, is one of the good ones. Great ones actually.
Previously, Irish novelist Roddy Doyle has focused his talents on life in modern-day Ireland. His works have been small character studies, with simple plots that come alive through Doyle's ear for dialogue and eye for intriguing themes. PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA, while considered a departure from his BARRYTOWN TRILOGY novels of blue collar Irish, was nevertheless a similar sort of story. A very small, intimate view of remarkable characters.
But A STAR CALLED HENRY takes Doyle into the new realms of historical fiction. In a story that can only be described as 'epic', Doyle traces the formative years of Henry Smart, street urchin turned IRA assassin, living at the beginning of the 20th century, as Ireland began to revolt against its English rulers.
Henry's beginnings show that Doyle has not traded his gift of characterization for narrative sweep. Henry's starts his tale before he was conceived, as his well-meaning but young mother falls in love with Henry Senior, a one-legged bouncer and hitman. With terrific economy of style, Doyle manages to convey both the excitement and desperation of Henry's life.
Read more ›
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Roddy Doyle's great new book, "A Star Called Henry," is a stirring rush of a story set at the beginning of the century as the Irish Republic Army is taking shape. The novel, the first in a trilogy planned by Doyle, takes narrator Henry Smart from an infant in his boozy mother's arms to a damaged 20-year-old with a long career as an IRA assassin. Henry's addled mom spends her time looking up the stars, which represent all the children she has lost. His father is a dim-witted bouncer at a Dublin brothel who threatens (and kills) people with his wooden leg. Henry takes to the streets, developing keen survival skills and contempt for the forces that keep he and his family down. He hooks up with men who hate the British. Henry, while a bitter youth, is apolitical and is just looking for adventure and sustenance. Henry also has an odd, Bonnie and Clyde-style romance with Miss O'Shea, an older woman as eager to battle the Brits as any man. Doyle mixes in real historical figures (his depiction of famed rebel Michael Collins is wonderfully entertaining) and events into Henry's adventurous life. But, this is no romanticized tale of Ireland's fight for liberation. The book is filled with flawed leaders, inducing violence and putting Ireland's innocent a risk in the name of profit, as well as freedom. Henry grows up fast and his narration comes at a breakneck pace. In the beginning, Henry is a folk hero. He makes it clear he is a great warrior and lover, and quite possibly a genius. By the end, he has realized the tragic cost of the cause for which he has committed murder - a cause that eventually turns on him.
Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a really good work of fiction. Just don't expect one of Doyle's gently humorous looks at the lives of working-class Irish people, like his Barrytown trilogy.
This novel deals with the eventful first twenty years of the life of Henry Smart, the son of Henry Smart Senior. Senior is a whorehouse bouncer in early 1900's Dublin, and becomes a part-time murderer for the mysterious Alfie Gandon, whom he never meets. He eventually abandons his family, and their slide into desperate poverty and the decline of his wife is described in haunting detail. Henry Junior leaves home to fend for himself, assisted by his little brother Victor, who dies from consumption.
Henry Junior then becomes involved with the Republican Movement, not because he is a staunch Republican, but because he is hoping for a better, more socially just, Ireland. He becomes a crack Republican assassin in an increasingly dirty war, and eventually realises that he is serving a new, shadowy elite, one of whom is the same Alfie Gandon his father used to serve.
In the process Doyle makes a number of telling points about "liberation" movements, points not only applicable to the Irish experience. Three of the most important are:
1. Such movements are often mythologised/idealized, with the myth serving to hide skeletons in the cupboard.
2. The leaders of a liberation movement easily form a new elite, intent on amassing wealth and not serving the common people.
3. The footsoldiers in a liberation struggle are dispensable, and often do not gain from the struggle.
But this is not a pedantic novel, and can be read for enjoyment as well. I would rate it as one of Doyle's best two novels to date, on a par with the excellent "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors".
Read more ›
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

A Star Called Henry (Last Roundup)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: A Star Called Henry (Last Roundup)

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: dublin 1916