Doyle's Dublin A Critical Study of Roddy Doyle's A Star Called Henry

Enright, Christian
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments (1989) and the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993), released his sixth book, A Star Called Henry (Penguin Books, 2000) to immediate critical acclaim. In recent years, Doyle, a North Dublin working class native, became increasingly daring. He is willing to take enormous risks with his writing. Audiences that enjoyed the heartfelt familial theme of his Barrytown Trilogy were shocked by the bleak reality of Paddy Clarke, in which the main character, a ten-year-old boy, finds himself caught in the midst of his parent's divorce and watches their family network crumble. Doyle's next book, the story of a battered wife entitled The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (1997), was seen as a betrayal in Ireland by some who resented the link between domestic abuse and the Catholic virtue of suffering. A Star Called Henry is Roddy Doyle's most daring and intense novel to date. The book is vastly researched (Doyle lists some 33 obscure sources at the end) and an absolute masterpiece of "brawling and lyrical"1 prose. Doyle's protagonist, the young Henry Smart, rages his way through abject policy in turn-of-the-century Dublin. Henry fights in the G.P.O. alongside Collins, Pearse and Connolly and survives to witness the bloody, violent birth of the modern Irish nation.
51 pages
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