The Van by Roddy Doyle

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Synopsis

Roddy Doyle’s acclaimed Booker Prize-nominated novel, “a darker portrayal of midlife crisis and an expansively farcical chain of misadventures” (The New York Times Book Review)
 
Jimmy Rabitte, Sr., is unemployed, spending his days alone and miserable. When his best friend, Bimbo, also gets laid off, they keep busy by being miserable together. Things seem to look up when they buy a decrepit fish-and-chips van and go into business, selling cheap grub to the drunk and the hungry—and keeping one step ahead of the environmental health officers.

Set during the heady days of Ireland’s brief, euphoric triumphs in the 1990 World Cup, The Van is a tender and hilarious tale of male friendship and family life.
 

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 August 1, 1993 by Penguin Books. 324 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Van

Kirkus Reviews

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Despite any certification from the Health Department, they are a great success, but then the football season ends, business falters, and Jimmy, Sr., misses the fun of the old days--"He'd been starting to think that Bimbo had lost his sense of humor from hanging over the deep-fat fryer too long."

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Publishers Weekly

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In hilarious scenes that recall the hot-dog-wagon disaster in John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces , Jimmy and Bimbo prove as determined as they are inept at making a go of their business (the vivid descriptions of unhygienically fried chips and grilled sausages could keep readers away from...

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Publishers Weekly

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This final novel of Doyle's trilogy about the working-class Rabbitte family of Dublin (following The Commitments and The Snapper ) demonstrates a brash originality and humor that are both uniquely Irish and shrewdly universal.

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Entertainment Weekly

Unlike the film based on it, Roddy Doyle's first novel, The Commitments, had a lot more to it than the story of a group of Irish teens who form a soul band.

Aug 07 1992 | Read Full Review of The Van

London Review of Books

In The Snapper Sharon Rabbitte, drunk in the car park at the Soccer Club Christmas do, gets pregnant by that fucking old eejtt Mister Burgess – the father, what’s more, of a friend of hers.

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Time Out New York

Occasionally the direction is too determinedly feel-good, but as the film proceeds and the men's partnership becomes increasingly strained, the jokes are underpinned by something more substantial: it gradually becomes clear that Larry's larky ways are partly symptomatic of irresponsibility, partl...

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