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Easter 1916, Ha Ha Ha

Roddy Doyle has written a dangerous book - and a historical masterpiece

By prospect   November 1999

Roddy Doyle’s special talent is for speech which reveals the soul in a way that normal talk never does. Schoolboys (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha), battered wives (The Woman Who Walked Into Doors) and soul music fans (The Commitments) are all more or less contemporary figures baring their all. In his latest novel we have something new: a figure from the past. Henry Smart, in his street voice, tells us his story.

Henry, the son of a one-legged brothel bouncer-cum-hitman, was born in a Dublin slum at the start of the century. He grows up a garrulous and infinitely resourceful…

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