Smile: Book summary and reviews of Smile by Roddy Doyle

Smile by Roddy Doyle
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2017
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the author of the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, a bold, haunting novel about the uncertainty of memory and how we contend with the past.

Just moved into a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly's for a pint, a slow one. One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and a pink shirt comes over and sits down. He seems to know Victor's name and to remember him from secondary school. His name is Fitzpatrick.

Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes, too, the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories - of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor's own small claim to fame, as the man who would say the unsayable on the radio. But it's the memories of school, and of one particular brother, that Victor cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.

Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humor, the superb evocation of adolescence, but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to reevaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Doyle skillfully depicts the triumphs and tragedies of the everyday, how the aging process humbles and ennobles, and how a single hasty decision made in one's youth can define and destroy a mind and thus a life." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. The understatement of the narrative makes the climax all the more devastating." – Kirkus

"Doyle flavors a compelling character study with a soupçon of suspense, misdirecting readers for a powerful purpose that is only revealed at the shocking, emotionally charged ending." – Booklist

"Readers anticipating Doyle's trademark wit and warmth will instead encounter a psychological mystery with an enigmatic ending that will have them flipping to the beginning looking for clues." - Library Journal

"A thrilling, dark, yet often humorous, story about reconciling with one's past." - Buzzfeed

The information about Smile shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Roddy Doyle Author Biography

Photo: Mark Nixon

Born in 1958 in Dublin, Roddy Doyle is a prolific Irish writer who has found over two decades-worth of material in the humorous, tender, and fraught life of the family. Americans may be most familiar with Doyle's wise-cracking dialog and its lilting Dublin intonations from the popular film adaptations of his Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1990), and The Van (1991). The three stories center around one middle-class Dublin family and their enterprises - a soul band, a teen pregnancy, a fish-and-chips van.

In 1993, Doyle won the Man Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, a story told from the point of view of a ten-year-old boy living in the Barrytown section of north Dublin. For its language and perspective, the novel often draws comparisons with James Joyce's A...

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