The Van

Roddy Doyle, Author Viking Books $21 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-84587-3
The final novel of a trilogy about the working-class Rabbitte family of Dublin (following The Commitments and The Snapper ), shortlisted for last year's Booker Prize, demonstrates a brash originality and humor that are both uniquely Irish and shrewdly universal. Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. is without a job or a raison d'etre. Then his pal Bimbo gets sacked from his bakery job and the two use Bimbo's unemployment money to buy a ramshackle fish-and-chips van. In hilarious scenes that recall the hot-dog-wagon disaster in John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces , Jimmy and Bimbo prove as determined as they are inept at making a go of their business (the vivid descriptions of unhygienically fried chips and grilled sausages could keep readers away from street food for quite a long time). In Jimmy, a likable fellow who tries to do right by his colorful and uncontrollable brood, Doyle has created an authentic hero of modern-day Ireland. That the author, a 33-year-old Dubliner, is also a vastly successful playwright will astonish no one who has read his superb dialogue. Tremendous good fun, devoid of pretension, this novel invites comparison with the best of 20th-century Irish literature. Readers who missed The Snapper first time around can find it in a forthcoming Penguin paperback. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
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Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-017191-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-026002-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-14-086426-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4362-7885-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 320 pages - 978-1-4362-7916-1
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-7493-3616-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7493-9990-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0329-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4406-2535-0
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4090-4657-8
Hardcover - 978-1-86021-917-7
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7531-9262-7
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