Sorry about the vernacular but I fookin' love Roddy Doyle, okay? I don't care what you think of him and I won't apologize--I love him. I read whatever he writes and usually enjoy every word. There have been some books that are better than others, natch, but he's got a way with dialogue and a feel for how people are and can be.
Imagine my surprise when I found out he had a collection of short stories called "The Deportees".
I was thrilled!
Imagine my further surprise when I found out it had been out since January of this year.
I. Was. Pissed.
At a man named Jason.
Jason used to work for Penguin as a sales rep and knew I loved Doyle and always hooked me up with advance copies. He even got me a signed copy of "A Star Called Henry", bless his heart. (G-d I loved that book) Then Jason took another job, a better job, and stopped repping and now I don't know anyone at Penguin and can't get my Doyle early, let alone for free so I'm like the rest of the rabble--uninformed and paying for books like a chump.
Alright, I wasn't pissed at Jason, I was pissed at myself for not keeping up on one of my very favorite authors.
As for the book, if you're a Doyle fan, you have to read it. The eight stories aren't all great but the man can write such circles around so many of his contemporaries, it scares me (I'm actually a little scare right now writing this!).
Best of all, Doyle often revisits his characters and in this collection, we get to catch up with Jimmy Rabbitte, manager and founder of Dublin's hardest working soul rebels, the Commitments! It's a few years after the band has imploded. Jimmy's a family man now and, despite his better judgment, he decides, no he NEEDS to put a new band together. The Deportees, a multi-culti cast of musicians who form a band to perform Woody Guthrie songs, are a reflection of the wave of immigration that happened as Ireland went from being penniless, backward-ass Ireland to the Celtic Tiger, the most economically successful country in Europe in recent memory. And reading about Jimmy again (and his Da!) is like running into an old friend you forgot how much you loved.