A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle

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Synopsis

Born at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Smart lives through the evolution of modern Ireland, and in this extraordinary novel he brilliantly tells his story. From his own birth and childhood on the streets of Dublin to his role as soldier (and lover) in the Irish Rebellion, Henry recounts his early years of reckless heroism and adventure. At once an epic, a love story, and a portrait of Irish history, A Star Called Henry is a grand picaresque novel brimming with both poignant moments and comic ones, and told in a voice that is both quintessentially Irish and inimitably Roddy Doyle's.


 

About Roddy Doyle

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RODDY DOYLE is the author of nine novels, most recently The Dead Republic, a collection of short stories, and a nonfiction book about the lives of his parents. In 1993 he won the Man Booker Prize for his novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and his novel The Van was a finalist for the prize. He has also written four screenplays as well as several stage plays and books for children and young adults. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
 
Published October 5, 2004 by Penguin Books. 354 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Star Called Henry

Kirkus Reviews

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The much-loved Irish author (The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, 1996, etc.) breaks impressive new ground with this masterly portrayal of the making of an IRA terrorist - the first volume of a projected trilogy entitled The Last Roundup.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

Publishers Weekly

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Hardy Irishman Doyle delivers his prose in a mellifluous outpouring, gentle in its use of language but harsh in its cutting observations. The beauty of Doyle's words, heightened in spoken presentation

Aug 30 1999 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

Publishers Weekly

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Doyle just gets better and better. After the touching hijinks of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and the poignantly powerful The Woman Who Walked into Walls, he has embarked on nothing less than a trilogy that

Aug 30 1999 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

Publishers Weekly

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His circumstances never get him down, though, because he knows that he is ""the brightest spark in a city full of bright and desperate sparks."" As the plot develops (Henry takes part in the 1916 Easter uprising and joins the fledgling Irish Republican Army, evolving into a warrior and a leader),...

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Publishers Weekly

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(The account of the 1916 Easter Rising, the occupation of the GPO and the bloodshed that follows must be one of the boldest and most vivid descriptions of civil strife in a familiar city ever penned.) After that, it's on to higher things for Henry: as a trainer of rebel soldiers, a young man high...

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AV Club

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Roddy Doyle's extraordinary sixth novel, A Star Called Henry, marks a major departure from the seriocomic territory he mined for his...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

Entertainment Weekly

What’s amazing is that Doyle propels his marvelously researched historical account – the first in a trilogy exploring Ireland’s 20th century – with the same quick-witted colloquialism and visceral prose that made his other novels, from ”The Commitments” to ”Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha,” such canny deli...

Sep 15 1999 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

BookPage

More than anything, though, Doyle's book is a trenchant critique of the fight for Irish independence, showing us how Henry is not expendable because he is the one who uses his father's old weapon to do the dirty work of Collins.

Mar 03 2015 | Read Full Review of A Star Called Henry

About.com

Moving Henry to Chicago gives a whole new landscape for Henry to play in, from the meatpacking plants of the South Side to the swinging jazz joints transforming America's musical sensibilities.

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Project MUSE

In key parts of the novel, there are specific references to Irish folk songs, ballads, and "rebel songs."

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Reader Rating for A Star Called Henry
75%

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