Roddy Doyle (2021) Life Without Children.

Roddy Doyle (2021) Life Without Children.

Roddy Doyle makes you smile. You just need to think of that line from The Commitments, ‘We are the black men of…’ whatever it was. I’m never very good at remembering. He wrote about the housing crisis in Dublin. Rosie (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p09lk76z/rosie). How letting the market sort things out is darkest doublethink, whilst helping take a hammer to poor people’s lives. What I’m building up to saying is aye, Roddy Doyle, but nah Roddie Doyle, because like the rest of us, there’s more than one of him. And he’s prolific enough to stumble.

Life Without Children, ten short stories, set during Covid and Lockdown they’re readable, but unremarkable. I’ve already forgotten them and I read the last story this morning, something about memes and a man searching the streets of Dublin for his son.  It’s easy to stick it to a Booker Prize winner. He (or she) isn’t going to come back and bite you on the arse. Being a nobody means you don’t have to arse-lick. Nobody cares what you think. I ask myself a simple question when I read books like this, if these stories were posted to various agencies and competitions how would they fare? You tell me—not about Roddy Doyle’s achievements—about Life Without Children?  I’d love a little of that magic dust. And yes, that’s being small-minded. Read on.

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