Book Talk: Roddy Doyle on music and language in 'The Guts'

Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:48am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Award-winning Irish author Roddy Doyle brings a few of his earliest characters back in his latest book, "The Guts", an achingly funny novel about some of life's more serious issues.

Doyle is on his familiar Dublin turf in the book about Jimmy Rabbitte, the former manager of an Irish soul band who appeared in his first book "The Commitments" in 1987.

His first novel was the start of The Barrytown Trilogy, which included "The Snapper" and "The Van", all of which were made into films. "The Commitments" has also been adapted for the stage and opened in London in October.

In "The Guts" Rabitte is a middle-aged married father of four diagnosed with bowel cancer. He grapples with his illness, reunites with two old band members and deals with his teenage children, his struggling music business and his own mortality.

Like his other books, most of "The Guts" is told through salty dialogue, with Doyle perfectly capturing the accent.

"The language of Dublin is ripe with profanity," he said.

The former secondary school teacher who won the Booker Prize in 1993 for "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha," spoke to Reuters about writing novels, middle age and returning to old friends.

Q: What made you decide to write books?   Continued...

Irish author Roddy Doyle poses at the Soho Grand Hotel in Manhattan, in this November 8, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Segar/files