The Guts

The Guts

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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"A triumphant return to the characters of Booker Prize-winning writer Roddy Doyle's breakout first novel, The Commitments, now older, wiser, up against cancer and midlife. Jimmy Rabbitte is back. The man who invented the Commitments back in the 1980s is now 47, with a loving wife, 4 kids...and bowel cancer. He isn't dying, he thinks, but he might be. Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle--his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay money online for their resurrected singles and albums. On his path through Dublin, between chemo and work he meets two of the Commitments--Outspan Foster, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever. He is reunited with his long-lost brother, Les, and learns to play the trumpet.... This warm, funny novel is about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life"-- Provided by publisher.
"Jimmy Rabbitte of The Commitments returns in the triumphant new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author The distinct wit and lively, authentic dialogue that are the hallmarks of Roddy Doyle's fiction are on a full display as he reintroduces Jimmy Rabbitte in this follow-up to his beloved debut novel The Commitments. In the 1980s Jimmy Rabbitte formed the Commitments, a ragtag, blue-collar collective of Irish youths determined to bring the soul music stylings of James Brown and Percy Sledge to Dublin. Time proves a great equalizer for Jimmy as he's now approaching fifty with a loving wife, four kids, and a recent cancer diagnosis that leaves him feeling shattered and frightened. Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle-his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay for their resurrected albums. As he battles his illness on his path through Dublin, Jimmy manages to reconnect with his own past, most notably Commitments guitarist Liam "Outspan" Foster and the still beautiful backup vocalist Imelda Quirk. Jimmy also learns the trumpet, reunites with his long-lost brother, and rediscovers the joys of fatherhood. An immensely funny and poignant novel, The Guts captures friendship, family, the power of music, the specter of death, and the zeal for life"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2014
New York : Viking, 2014
ISBN: 9780670016433
Branch Call Number: FICTION DOYLE 2014
Characteristics: 327 pages ; 24 cm

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blustocking
Oct 22, 2016

i just read the guts again and i still love it. i loved the commitments too, the book and the movie. there are never enough novels about music and musicians but roddy doyle, like nick hornby, really delivers. the chauvinism of the characters (they discussed women as if talking about pieces of meat) was annoying to say the least, but you can't blame doyle for writing true--music is a sexist business.

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gvenkatesh
Jun 06, 2014

It takes a bit of determination to stay with the book after the first few pages. If the profanities in every other sentence don't get you, the rapid play-like dialogue without much of the syntactic adornments will. But like wading into cold ocean water or going into a very hot sauna, one gets acclimatized after the initial aversion to discover a gem of a novel. One with wit and charm in the story of a family coping with the protagonist's cancer diagnosis and treatment in the aftermath of the financial crisis that hit Ireland hard. No cheap tricks like self-destructive characters or dysfunctional families that plague American authors to create drama. Not a Hallmark card family either. Real, warm and refreshing. The sparse formatting for the dialogue actually helps in better absorbing the staccato exchanges between characters that forms the majority of the content of the book. While the ending may seem uplifting, one is disappointed with the author reverting back to the formulaic appeal of music bands being appreciated as the finale like in his earlier book - The Commitments. Along with the overly long lead-up to it, it detracts from the earlier portrayal of the characters and their interactions in a witty and warm manner that makes the book worth reading. Recommended if gratuitous profanities throughout the book don't bother you.

d
diggie
Feb 28, 2014

the funniest book about colon cancer you're likely to read.

Cdnbookworm Nov 09, 2013

This novel continues the story begun with his book The Commitments and continued in The Snapper and The Van which all featured the Rabbitte family. These books are commonly referred to as The Barrytown Trilogy. So now there are four. Jimmy Rabbitte was a main character in the first book and he is the focus of this novel. Now 47, Jimmy and his wife created a music company focused on older music, and then sold a large chunk of it to a partner Noeleen. As the book begins, Jimmy is meeting his dad, also Jimmy, in a pub for a drink, a common occurrence, except that this time Jimmy is breaking the news to his dad that he has bowel cancer. His dad is the first person Jimmy has told this news to.
This novel takes us through Jimmy's cancer journey, through his surgery and chemotherapy, but also through his relationships along the way. From his reconnection with two members of The Commitments, Outspan and Imelda, to his reconnection with his long-lost brother Les, we see Jimmy reach back to his past. We also see his interactions with his wife and kids, and his business partner. Music is a focus here too, with Jimmy's love of music, music the focus of his business, and a large outdoor multi-day music concert the venue for the final part of the story bringing everything together in an amazing way.
This book has a lot of humour as one expects from Doyle but also a wonderfully human story about a man dealing with the situation of facing his own vulnerability.
I've read a few books by Doyle, but not the entire Barrytown series, so must add those to my list now too.

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