Friday, March 7, 2014

The Guts by Roddy Doyle

Did you ever see the early-90s film "The Commitments" about an bunch of teens trying to become Ireland's greatest soul band? Doyle wrote the novel it was based on, along with several continuations: This is his fourth book in the Barrytown series.

The Commitments' manager Jimmy Rabbitte has stayed in music - he's made a career milking the nostalgia for Irish punk and folk acts, building internet sites and back-catalog sales for these mostly one-hit wonders.

But a sudden illness creates a strong sense of sentimentality about the glory days, and Jimmy starts to look up a few people he's lost touch with over the years. Most haven't fared so well, but a new music idea and a big outdoor concert help bring them all back to the friendship they'd enjoyed.

They're very relatable characters: flawed and funny, acting badly and also very bravely. This is a very funny book, but written in dialect and in a non-traditional quotation format - once you get used to it, it's a breeze, but I'll admit it took me a bit to get the hang of it.

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