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Roddy Doyle’s Smile is a dark echo of his Booker Prize-winning novel

The exhilarating dangers of Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha mature in Doyle's latest book

By Josie Mitchell   January 2018

For Irish novelist Roddy Doyle, childhood is as dangerous as it is exhilarating. In Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha—his most celebrated novel, which won the 1993 Booker Prize—children mess around with lighter fluid, charge down empty sewage pipes and get knocked about by teachers. Doyle’s latest novel, Smile, is a bleaker affair, and his most extreme exploration to date of the tension between schoolboy nostalgia and suppressed trauma.

We encounter Victor Forde nursing a pint and contemplating his life’s ruin: newly separated from his wife, he’s back in his old Dublin…

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