Bullfighting by Roddy Doyle

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The Man Booker Prize-winning author takes the pulse of modern Ireland with a masterful new collection of stories.

Roddy Doyle has earned a devoted following for his wry wit, his uncanny ear, and his ability to fully capture the hearts of his characters. Bullfighting, his second collection of stories, offers a series of bittersweet takes on men and middle-age, revealing a panorama of Ireland today. Moving from classrooms to local pubs to bullrings, these tales feature an array of men taking stock and reliving past glories, each concerned with loss in different ways-of their place in the world, of their power, their virility, health, and love. "Recuperation" follows a man as he sets off on his daily prescribed walk around his neighborhood, the sights triggering recollections of his family and his younger days. In "Animals", George recalls caring for his children's many pets and his heartfelt effort to spare them grief when they died or disappeared. The title story captures the mixture of bravado and helplessness of four friends who go off to Spain on holiday. Sharply observed, funny, and moving, these thirteen stories present a new vision of contemporary Ireland, of its woes and triumphs, and middle- aged men trying to break out of the routines of their lives.

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 April 28, 2011 by Penguin Books. 227 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bullfighting

The New York Times

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In Roddy Doyle’s stories, characters struggle with the funk brought on by middle age.

May 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting

BC Books

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Thirteen tales of contemporary Ireland.

Apr 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting

The Bookbag

Indeed, to call them stories is almost to damn them with faint praise, as they're really more than stories, more like little slices of life that just happened to be written down.

Jul 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting

Denver Post

He doesn't know when he knew.

Jul 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting


His real brilliance is his ability to take a mundane moment — a break between classes, watching a spouse sleep — and use it as a springboard for revelation.

May 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting


That Doyle can get behind the lager lout image and find real people, doing their best to lead a decent life, is the real triumph of this story, but it's also - like all the other tales here - a great piece of theatre, minutely observed.

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Lest I give the wrong impression, these stories are not depressing–instead through these marvellous stories Doyle argues that middle age brings new experiences and new emotions–just when we thought we’d experienced all that life had to offer.

May 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Bullfighting

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