Tuesday 17 September 2013

The Guts

Finished September 15
The Guts by Roddy Doyle

This novel continues the story begun with his book The Commitments and continued in The Snapper and The Van which all featured the Rabbitte family. These books are commonly referred to as The Barrytown Trilogy. So now there are four. Jimmy Rabbitte was a main character in the first book and he is the focus of this novel. Now 47, Jimmy and his wife created a music company focused on older music, and then sold a large chunk of it to a partner Noeleen. As the book begins, Jimmy is meeting his dad, also Jimmy, in a pub for a drink, a common occurrence, except that this time Jimmy is breaking the news to his dad that he has bowel cancer. His dad is the first person Jimmy has told this news to.
This novel takes us through Jimmy's cancer journey, through his surgery and chemotherapy, but also through his relationships along the way. From his reconnection with two members of The Commitments, Outspan and Imelda, to his reconnection with his long-lost brother Les, we see Jimmy reach back to his past. We also see his interactions with his wife and kids, and his business partner. Music is a focus here too, with Jimmy's love of music, music the focus of his business, and a large outdoor multi-day music concert the venue for the final part of the story bringing everything together in an amazing way.
This book has a lot of humour as one expects from Doyle but also a wonderfully human story about a man dealing with the situation of facing his own vulnerability.
I've read a few books by Doyle, but not the entire Barrytown series, so must add those to my list now too.

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