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The Guts [Hardcover]

Roddy Doyle
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

8 Aug 2013

Jimmy Rabbitte is back.

The man who invented the Commitments back in the eighties is now forty-seven, with a loving wife, four kids ... and bowel cancer. He isn't dying, he thinks, but he might be.

Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle - his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay money for their resurrected singles and albums. On his path through Dublin he meets two of the Commitments - Outspan, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever. He is reunited with his long-lost brother and learns to play the trumpet.

This warm, funny novel is about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life. It climaxes in one of the great passages in Roddy Doyle's fiction: four middle-aged men at Ireland's hottest rock festival watching Jimmy's son Marvin's band Moanin' At Midnight pretending to be Bulgarian and playing a song called 'I'm Going to Hell' that apparently hasn't been heard since 1932.

Why? You'll have to read The Guts to find out.

Winner of the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; 1st Edition edition (8 Aug 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0224098322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224098328
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of eleven acclaimed novels including The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van, two collections of short stories, Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents, and most recently, The Guts. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

Product Description


"A visceral tragicomedy - as raw and as funny as anything [Doyle's] written." (Olivia Cole GQ)

"Remarkable, relevant and, surprisingly for a book that's ostensibly about cancer, joyful." (Kevin Maher The Times)

"Life-affirming and trimphant" (Irish Post)

"A fond, comic treat." (Sunday Times)

"This is Doyle back in Barrytown and on top form, especially at the festival which closes a glorious book." (Harry Ritchie Daily Mail)

Book Description

Jimmy Rabbitte returns in a wonderful new novel by the author of The Commitments - now a major West End Musical.

Winner of the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloomin' marvellous book 22 Dec 2013
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This is the Barrytown trilogy doing a Douglas Adams. It's the fourth book in the trilogy, and has been a long time coming, but for me, it was definitely worth the wait.

Jimmy Rabbite is 47, and he has bowel cancer. This is a book in which Jimmy contemplates his own mortality, and gets to grips with what's important about living in an effort to cheat the dying, or at least make it more bearable.

This is not the same world that Doyle paints in The Commitments, the youthful enthusiasm is gone, replaced instead by cynicism and a sense of loss, but always in the background beats the heart of what makes these books so wonderful, the sense of community and a loving family and people that care.

I loved this book. I won't give anything else away, but if you like glorious dialogue, a wryly wonderful take on the absurdity of life and a hymn to what makes life worth living, it's all here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great promise but doesn't get there 27 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I saw that this was being released, I was excited and couldn't wait to get straight into it. From the start you are back in the world of The Commitments, some of the characters are still there, it is still Northside Dublin and the language and humour remains the same. The story is 20+ years on from the last time we heard from the Commitments and you pick it up really quickly.

As the story develops, the excitement remained there however towards the end, the story seemed to drift and it felt like the pages were being padded out to finish with a happy ending. Everything gets nicely tied up at the end but again, the drama of the Commitments was not there. It felt flat at times and in some cases predictable. It is the characters in the year 2012 but it is not the same as the other books in the trilogy.

Worth a read as you will get it finished quickly, it is light and easy reading with some laughs but it is not a classic like the other great Roddy Doyle books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
(3.5 stars) Twenty-five years ago Jimmy Rabbitte and his mates in the working class Barrytown section of Dublin, decided that the best way to change their economic situation for the better was to form a rock band. In the first novel of author Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy (1988), named The Commitments for the rock group they formed, Jimmy and his hopeful friends tried for big-time success, and in the trilogy's subsequent novels (The Snapper and The Van), they continued their earnest and energetic, though unsophisticated, plans to improve their lives. Now, after twenty-five years, four children, and a bit of success, Jimmy returns in The Guts. Like the earlier novels The Commitments and The Van, Doyle's The Guts is hilarious, filled with humor that ranges from the dark to the most boisterous and profane, but it also shows an older, more thoughtful Jimmy whose life has taken a sudden turn.

When Jimmy and his father meet at the pub after work, the reader sees a different culture from that of Jimmy and his family twenty-five years earlier. His father now texts friends about "going for a pint," and he wants to know about Facebook and websites on which older women (cougars) chase young boys. Without warning, Jimmy tells his father about his recent diagnosis of cancer, a shock which his father first tries to pass off, and then tries unsuccessfully to share. Though his father is not a demonstrative person, Jimmy notices that he "was trying to get nearer to Jimmy without actually moving. Without making a show."

Here, as in most of his other novels, Doyle's characters are so clearly conceived that the dialogue and the subtle actions of the characters often take the place of real narrative.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Rabbitte Returns 29 Aug 2013
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Author Roddy Doyle's creation Jimmy Rabbitte is now 47 years old, married to a strong and supportive wife Aoife with 4 bright young children. He has made a profitable living out of his internet business of rooting out and selling old Irish punk or post-punk records and researching the bands from the 1970's and 80's, enough to move to an up-market house. Unfortunately a sales slump with the recession forces him to sell 75% of his business and engage in Celtic Rock, 'Riverdance for Nazis', as he calls it. He is able to pay off his mortgage from the sale yet he still feels grief that he has let something special and personal go from his life. To cap it all he is diagnosed with bowel cancer that will require surgery and chemotherapy. He has to tell his family the news starting with his father Jimmy Sr, over a pint, with a snappy exchange of brilliance and observation that contains elements of comedy, unease and despair. He also bumps into Commitments' singer, still gorgeous, Imelda, in the pub who gives him her phone number. Explaining the cancer to his wife and children, the boys in particular, are almost unbearably moving.

Ever optimistic, Jimmy replies anyone who asks him how he is with, "I'm grand", but as the everpresent possibility of death sinks in, Jimmy admits to himself that he feels 'shattered and frightened'. The cancer theme is a prominent plot line but handled without being sentimental, morbid, solemn or over-reflective. Jimmy surrounds himself with his family with a genuine love and affection. Doyle adds old friend Outspan who Jimmy meets whilst in the chemotherapy hospital unit. He has terminal lung cancer. Their meeting and conversation is a highlight of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Spot on as always.
Published 22 days ago by queen of flippin' everything
5.0 out of 5 stars great book/read
if you liked the commitments you will love this. beautifully written as always. characters all believable, lets hope this makes a film too.
Published 1 month ago by dilbert rules
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable and nostalgic read
A good book for any Commitments fan to read, bitter sweet, but feels like a comfy pair of slippers. If you haven't already, read The Van, which is all out Jimmy's dad and very... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lee65
3.0 out of 5 stars borrow don't buy
Not a Doyle Classic and a bit cheesy but still enjoyable to nostalgia hungry middle agers. Strangely amusing cliche rich bollix.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Disconnected and unsatisfying
I'm a fan of Doyle's Barrytown trilogy, having grown up close to where the books are based. Frankly this book is a distant cousin of the trilogy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
A thoroughly enjoyable romp, typical of Doyle, finding humour in the most unlikely subjects. Touching at times in its treatment of intergenerational relationships
Published 5 months ago by Dave Weir
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Reading some of the other reviews I wondered if we were reading the same book. Maybe my view is coloured by the fact that I really enjoyed the Commitments, The Snapper and The Van,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Allets
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a go for Roddy Doyle fans, but not as good as some of his past...
I was hoping for another laugh out loud book, like those in the Barrytown series, but while it was good, it wasn't anywhere near the level of his past books. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cheshire
3.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning but too many loose ends
I enjoyed the first half of The Guts, it made me laugh out loud to myself which few books do. I've no idea how anyone outside of Ireland would understand a lot of the references... Read more
Published 6 months ago by cannco
5.0 out of 5 stars The Guts
Deserves 5 stars as its Roddy at his best. Reincarnating an old favourite in Jimmy Rabbitte and throwing in a dash of Emelda Quirk and Outspan makes one hell of a good thought... Read more
Published 6 months ago by steve r
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