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The Van [Paperback]

Roddy Doyle
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

2 April 1992

Jimmy Rabbitte is unemployed and rapidly running out of money. His best friend Bimbo has been made redundant at the company where he has worked for many years. The two old friends are out of luck and out of options. That is, until Bimbo finds a dilapidated 'chipper van' and the pair decide to go into business...

By the bestselling author of The Commitments and The Snapper, The Van is a tender tale of male friendship, swimming in grease and stained with ketchup.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749399902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749399900
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,042 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 wonderfully funny book, that crackles and spits like fat in the fryer. It is also very touching...fine entertainment" (Daily Telegraph)

"The last novel of his superb trilogy about the Rabbitte family of North Dublin...often hilarious, always enthralling and - this really is the case - unputdownable" (Sunday Times)

"Roddy Doyle is a phenomenon... The Van is not just a very funny book, it is also faultless comic writing" (New Statesman)

"There have been no novels published this year which are as funny, as understanding about the triumphs and indignities of family life, or as brave in touching upon the raw nerves of the male psyche" (Guardian)

Book Description

'A hilarious and hugely affectionate novel' Independent on Sunday

By the bestselling author of The Commitments, now a long-running West End stage show.

'The musical we've been waiting for... So good I almost wept' Sunday Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious 7 Sep 2001
This is my fourth Roddy Doyle book and although I would recommend anything he writes, this is by far the best I have read so far. It struck me that anyone who likes the UK series "The Royle Family" would love this book. The central character is a beer-loving layabout who sees the Van Project as a big game, which he eventually tires of. The Rise and Fall of these entrepreneurs is about the funniest thing I have ever read. I guess there are some people who won't like it, but I hope I don't get invited to one of their "dinner parties". I can't recommend this enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL-OVER-IRELAND 20 May 2007
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958 and saw his first novel, "The Commitments", published in 1987. It was later adapted for the big screen, a version that saw Star Trek's Colm Meaney and a very young Andrea Corr among the cast. "The Snapper" was firs published in 1990 and is the second book in his "Barrytown Trilogy".

Where "The Commitments" followed Jimmy Rabbite's attempts to bring soul "back" to Dublin, he takes a back seat in "The Snapper". (He now hopes to be a famous DJ, rather than a manager or a drummer - an ambition that quickly earns him the nickname "Larry Gogan". You'll probably need to have spent little time in Ireland to catch that one... ). Instead, the starring roles go to his sister, Sharon, and his father, Jimmy Senior. The book opens with Sharon in a horrible situation : twenty years old, still living at home and three months pregnant, she's breaking the 'bad' news to her parents. She's decided not to name the father - though, there's plenty of speculation, suggestion and rumour over the following six months. Some of it is embarrassingly close to the mark, and causes her no end of trouble. While Sharon's pregnancy obviously isn't easy for her, it also puts Jimmy Snr through the mill - shock, concern, embarrassment and anger. He even, briefly, casts himself as her champion in defending her honour.

A very enjoyable and easily book - it's also a good deal better than "The Commitments". While the language is (authentically) 'colourful', it's generally a good-natured book and there's plenty of humour. (However, some of the humour may be lost if you're not familiar with the Irish dialect). Well worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Do heavy metalers eat chips?" 9 July 2006
When Jimmy Rabbitte's best friend Bimbo is made "redundant" at the Dublin company where he has worked for many years, he is devastated. Jimmy, who is also unemployed, offers a shoulder for Bimbo to cry on, and both agree that they will not work at McDonald's, no matter what. When Bimbo finds a dilapidated "chipper van," which they can fix up and then use to sell food at major football games, rock concerts, beaches, and other gatherings (though not horse shows because "those blokes only eat caviar"), the two go into business together, with Bimbo in charge, since he is the one who bought the van. Ignoring the health requirements and the required licenses, they drive to large gatherings all summer, sell their fish and chips and sausages, and then return home with their money.

Working together in a marginal business creates problems for the two "best friends." Hot-tempered Jimmy resents the fact that he has to take orders from Bimbo. Bimbo resents the fact that Jimmy is not patient with customers, and that he does not work as hard as he might. Bimbo's wife and Jimmy do not get along,and Bimbo is caught in the middle. And when the health inspector arrives, their friendship itself is at stake.

Set in roiling north Dublin, where humor and family togetherness are the keys to surviving the tumult of the neighborhood, the novel depicts real, working-class Dubliners leading real, hard-scrabble lives, often centered around the pub and sports. Dialogue and dialect make these characters come alive, and the relationship between Jimmy and Bimbo is depicted honestly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read 16 July 1999
By A Customer
This book is the story of how life long friends Bimbo and Jimmy Senior, both having become unemployed, try to make a living by starting in business with a fish & chip van. The dialogue in the book is so well written that within a few pages you can almost hear the thick Dublin accents of the characters in your head as you read the book. The story is a humorous exploration of how the main characters relationship changes over time when confronted with being business partners as well as drinking partners. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Funny and Hard To Put Down! 20 Sep 2000
Laughed till I nearly cried whilst reading this, a side of pregnancy I have never thought of before. This book has been passed around a circle of friends and is the kind of book you want to read all over again in case you missed something the first time around!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 Years on and still superb 12 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read this book, the third in the Barrytown trilogy, when it came out and loved it to bits. Since then it has become, along with my PG Wodehouse books, a read and reread favourite. It might now be 20 years old but it doesn't date one bit, and with every reading there is something more that I discover to make me laugh or indeed shed a tear.

The dialogue crackles with Dublin wit and humour and the cast of characters is wonderful. The story is a funny and poignant look at the relationship between two pals, Jimmy Sr. and Bimbo. Jimmy has always been the leader, the worldly wise one who sets the agenda, and his best friend, Bimbo, has always been his compliant wingman. Always ready to go along with and be guided by Jimmy who knows best.

Jimmy's been made redundant before the story opens and is delighted when Bimbo suffers the same fate. Not because Bimbo's been thrown on the scrapheap; Jimmy knows what that's like and wouldn't wish it on anybody; but as it's happened Jimmy doesn't see why he can't make the best of it for both their sakes.

Now that Bimbo has his days free he's a little ready made friend for Jimmy to play with, and after an initial rocky start as an unemployed statistic, Bimbo gradually gets into the swing of things and the pair are soon filling their days in one another's company playing pitch and putt, babysitting Jimmy's granddaughter and doing lots of other things together.

Bimbo's not happy and wants a job, almost any job will do, at one point he even considers applying for a McJob complete with nylon uniform. Jimmy's not keen for this to happen. It would threaten, what if perhaps not the exactly idyllic, then certainly the bearable existence that Jimmy's living day-to-day with his friend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
One of the best books I have read in years. My first Roddy Doyle and to be honest the best (I have now read almost all the rest). Read more
Published 4 days ago by C. Mcsherry
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
A very funny and good read whilst on holiday. This was my first Roddy Doyle book and I will be coming back for more.
Published 1 month ago by Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very funny and touching
Published 2 months ago by lesley anne lord
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
What a terrible book. Forced myself to read about 100 pages, let myself give up after that!
Published 2 months ago by Mr J W Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Utter rubbish not really worth a single star
Published 2 months ago by Ken Mcardle
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
as described and arrived promptly
Published 2 months ago by Juliet
5.0 out of 5 stars Purchased item
It does exactly what I want it to do, with no fuss or bother. I love it. I love it!
Published 3 months ago by 2uba man
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This Item Arrived very quickly and my father loved the book... Yes I would recommend to others ... Thank you !
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
This book was raved about on books and Authors BBC 4. I Couldn't like the characters and the plot and dialogue was for the most part unfunny.
Published 5 months ago by Baldric
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the finest book ever written
I treated myself to reading this again after about 15 years. It was a joy from start to finish. Apart from the comic set pieces (cleaning the van, Bertie teasing Bimbo about his... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chubworth
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