Smile - Roddy Doyle

Staff Pick

When we meet Victor, an occasional and provocative radio commentator, he’s separated from his wife and lives in a tiny apartment. He’s struggling to write his book about “what’s wrong with Ireland,” but he’s more concerned with picking out a regular pub in his new neighborhood. With present circumstances constrained and the future a blank, Victor falls back on the past. He relives the moment he met his wife, a beautiful entrepreneur and TV chef, and recreates scenes from their marriage. But he also recalls the childhood bullying, the early death of his father, and being “molested” by the headmaster of his Christian Brothers school. As the memories unfold, it’s clear that Victor’s Smile (Viking, $25) isn’t happiness, but a denial that anything is amiss. His memories are similarly deceptive. His marriage seems so fantastic because much of it is fantasy and his darker recollections only hint at what really happened. As Victor argues with himself, tells himself stories, and at last has to listen to his own revelations, he seems not one character, but several: he’s the successful writer and loving husband he might have been as well as the angry and guilty victim he tries to hide and to hide from. Roddy Doyle here uses his tremendous skill with dialogue—as well as his irrepressible humor—to show the truly shattering psychological consequences of physical abuse, and how the damage continues even decades later

Smile: A Novel By Roddy Doyle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735224445
Availability: Backordered
Published: Viking - October 17th, 2017