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The Van by [Doyle, Roddy]
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The Van Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Length: 324 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The final novel of a trilogy about the working-class Rabbitte family of Dublin (following The Commitments and The Snapper ), shortlisted for last year's Booker Prize, demonstrates a brash originality and humor that are both uniquely Irish and shrewdly universal. Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. is without a job or a raison d'etre. Then his pal Bimbo gets sacked from his bakery job and the two use Bimbo's unemployment money to buy a ramshackle fish-and-chips van. In hilarious scenes that recall the hot-dog-wagon disaster in John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces , Jimmy and Bimbo prove as determined as they are inept at making a go of their business (the vivid descriptions of unhygienically fried chips and grilled sausages could keep readers away from street food for quite a long time). In Jimmy, a likable fellow who tries to do right by his colorful and uncontrollable brood, Doyle has created an authentic hero of modern-day Ireland. That the author, a 33-year-old Dubliner, is also a vastly successful playwright will astonish no one who has read his superb dialogue. Tremendous good fun, devoid of pretension, this novel invites comparison with the best of 20th-century Irish literature. Readers who missed The Snapper first time around can find it in a forthcoming Penguin paperback.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A beaten-up van dispensing fish and chips, not some clearing in the deep woods, is the setting for Doyle's warm, humorous, and cleareyed look at male friendship--in this his third book featuring the irrepressible Rabbitte family of Dublin (The Commitments, 1989; The Snapper, see above). When Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr., loses his job, he tries to make the best of it, but what he misses most are his evenings in the local pub with his friends (``it wasn't the pints Jimmy, Sr., loved...it was the lads here, the laughing. This was what he loved''). He joins the library, develops a taste for Dickens, and takes care of granddaughter Gina; but when his best friend Bimbo is ``made redundant,'' he's delighted because now, ``only with the two of them, they could do plenty of things.'' And when Bimbo decides to buy a rusting old chipper van, Jimmy accepts his offer to join him in the venture. After much effort, the van is cleaned up, recipes are tested, and the two men are set to sell fish, chips, and burgers to football crowds and pub-goers. Despite any certification from the Health Department, they are a great success, but then the football season ends, business falters, and Jimmy, Sr., misses the fun of the old days--``He'd been starting to think that Bimbo had lost his sense of humor from hanging over the deep-fat fryer too long.'' Meanwhile, Bimbo, egged on by entrepreneurial wife Maggie, becomes bossy and assertive. An encounter with officialdom provokes a crisis in their already fraying friendship, and Bimbo drives the van into the sea; but Jimmy, not so sure the friendship can be restored, returns wet and exhausted to wife Veronica: ``Give us a hug, Veronica, will yeh...I need a hug.'' As usual, Doyle has got it all just right--this is what friendships and families are really like: stubborn, contrary, loving, and, aware of life's absurdities, always ready to be cheered by a good laugh. Vintage Doyle. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 673 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (August 1, 1993)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 1993
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001N89KTU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I recently read "The Snapper" as a part of the Barrytown trilogy, and found Doyle's prose as I always have -- fast paced and incredibly honest. For me, and Im sure other readers, its Doyle's honesty that evokes so much emotion and reflects the depth of the culture he writes about. I couldn't help but feel a part of the family as I witnessed the Rabbitte family's difficulty in accepting Sharon's pregnancy. Doyle's characters aren't shallow - they're so honest you wouldn't be surprised if they walked in your front door and asked you down to the local pub for a pint. If harsh language is a problem for you, perhaps you should stick with more sheltered literature that refuses to tell the truth about real life. Another success for Doyle.
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Format: Paperback
I had seen the screen versions of Roddy Doyle's, "The Commitments" and "The Snapper", prior to reading his written work. As I have now experienced his work in both mediums, its as funny on the page as it is on the screen. "The Van" is the last in this trilogy and it definitely focuses on the older of the generations. The movies actually enhanced the book as the actors were spectacular and the memories of their performances kept returning to mind.
The book is almost pure dialogue, and the humor will certainly leave you in pain. The issue of colorful language has been mentioned and while there is no denying its prevalence I don't believe there was any increase in this particular book. When his work is read every word is as clear as the reader's vocabulary, when on screen the accents often rendered dialogue difficult to decipher. The cadence of his writing is so well done, that even when spoken the humor works with a word or two missing, the structure implies the emotion.
Mr. Doyle also wrote, "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors", and this was the previous work of his that I had read. As a writer he has remarkable range as the previous work was dark and violent, and the humor too was black as pitch. It was not just sad it was unsettling. His ability to portray the Human Condition whether bleak or bright, or even with humor when it is all that keeps a character going, in simply brilliant.
If you have not read this man's work or seen the movies I would recommend both formats. His material is great regardless of the medium.
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Format: Paperback
After having read both "The Commitments" and "The Snapper", I now feel as a part of the crazy, confused and wonderfully human Rabbitte family. Roddy Doyle has a great way of almost understating when he writes. The tone is warm, human and tragi-comic - these characters are real, they are everyday people with "loves and hates and problems just like mine", thus making the book a loving and heartfelt celebration of your average lower-class Irish family. And another thing: the dialogue is "bleedin brilliant!"
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The snapper is a good book, but it's theme and content are different than "The Commitments". It's not as funny. It has some humor in it. A young women is raped and then goes through a pregnancy, in a country does not allow abortions and usually takes newborns away from the mother. It is about a brave family facing a huge negative stimulus in a country where a religious organization controlled the social mores of it's people. I guess that upset me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is funny and down to Earth, just like the movie it inspired. I recommend reading this and others by the author, Roddy Doyle. He talks of Barrytown and his country in a way that makes you feel you know the place and his characters stand the test of time also.
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Format: Paperback
After watching the film "The Snapper" over 100 times in my life time I figured it was time to read the book. The film is great ... the book is excellent.

Sharon gets herself "up the pole" at 19. She is too embarrassed to tell anyone who the father is so she tell's everyone, including her own family it is a "Spanish Sailor". However, rumor has it that her "Spanish Sailor" is more than likely the fat, ugly short man from across the street!

The story highlights the local gossip surrounding Sharons pregnancy, how her family & friends try to suss out who she's "having it for" and how Sharon herself deals with it all.

The script is mostly dialogue, it is a refreshing change!

Every page guarentees you to laugh out load. I couldnt put it down. The storyline is excellent, the frequent vulgar language making it more and more realistic. I love the whole "tell it as it is" attitude. This book is hilarius and I would highly recommend it to anyone
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A heart-warming tale of out-or-work friends in the Dublin of the '80s and their dream of owning a chip van, which is first realised and then ... well, I won't spoil the story. The characters are individual and unforgettable, from the soft-hearted Jimmy Sr, who is unable to articulate his more sensitive feelings, to his indomitable wife Veronica, who manages to study for and pass the Leaving Cert. amidst a chaos of children, a too-small house, a moping unemployed husband and his assorted friends, including the ever-optimistic Bimbo. For some reason, Roddy Doyle chooses not to use quotation marks for the words spoken by his characters, preferring a dash at the beginning of each speech, which is irritating. Still, his ear for North Dublin city patois is unerring and very funny. The story moves at snail's pace, but it is an entertaining snail. Warning: The F word appears innumerable times.
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