Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
The Experiences Of An Aging Rebel
on 15 April 2010
This is the third volume of Doyle's trilogy about Henry Smart, the IRA fighter whose experiences in the first two volumes of the trilogy describes his early years as a political rebel experiencing the violence of the Irish independence struggle and his subsequent flight to America and his encounters with jazz legends. The third volume takes us from the 1940s to much more recent times as Henry Smart returns to Ireland and finds himself once more caught up in the republican conflict.
The first section of the book deals with his experience working with John Ford on the development of The Quiet Man, whilst you have to admire the detail of Doyle's historial research, I did feel that this element of Henry's life lacked the energy and pace of the previous novels. The writer seemed to be more interesting in the process of moviemaking and the Hollywood treatment given to Henry's story and it took a while for his character to take hold of the narrative and to give it momentum.
As the novel develop, Henry finds work as a school caretaker and a gardener, is somewhat implausibly reunited with the love of his life and becomes a figurehead for the republican movement as a result of mistaken idenitiy. The novel contains pace and tempo in its latter stages but never really reaches the brilliance of the first two books in the trilogy.