Way when he wasn t dead Oh I said Oh is rightThat sort of thing I waivered between 45 and 5 stars but wanted to reflect how great I found this book I must say at the start that this book probably reuires at Beyond Varallan least a basic knowledge of the history of the Irish Uprising and Anglo Irish war Henry Smart is a survivor and His Dublin is both vast and a small village This reflects the Dublin I have come to know Henry is born into poverty which becomes even extreme after his father disappears His father who hasost a eg eaves behind his wooden imb which becomes Harry s talisman It is his weapon and much Harry finds himself in the Dublin GPO General Post Office during the disastrous Easter Uprising in 1916 Although He Is Barely 14 He Is Tall is barely
14 HE IS TALL PASSES FORhe is tall passes for older For several years preceeding the Uprising he has ived in and around Liberty Hall and become a friend of James Connolly Later he becomes Michael Collins confidant His Dona Flor life his conuests his victories and his growingegendary status are all improbable but that is what is so appealing about this super hero of the Irish revolution and the Dublin slums I Rocker Babies Wear Jeans learned about the IRA in 1982 duringunch at the Hard Rock Caf in central London During my hamburger a bomb blew up a crowded bandstand and killed six musicians in Regent s Park Sound of the distant explosion startled us but we aughed it off and went on with our mealA classmate of mine though was istening to the band that hot summer day Shattered by her vision of the carnage she uit school and flew back homeProbably everybody in England and Northern Ireland has a story about the day the Troubles hit home For thousands of people whose Sono with Visits from the Seventh lives have been scarred by the conflict it s impossible to fathom the terrorists responsible for these atrocitiesWith A Star Called Henry Roddy Doyle has imagined the unfathomable His vain young hero Henry Smart is a maddeninglyikable killer who realizes only too Remarkable Creatures late what horror he s perpetuatingIf Henry is right and stories are the only thing the poor own then he s a rich man indeed The son of a hopeful girl and a oneegged thug Henry starts his story with the miracle of his healthy birth in the slums of Dublin in 1901 He s the only flame among Angela s ashes so to speak Women and men stand in ong ines to get a Heroes Adrift (Hero, look at the Glowing BabyWith the outlandish pride that marks his entire story Henry says Theyooked at me and saw a fine Chuck and Danielle lad who was going toive The women had never seen one before Even as a toddler raging along the sualid streets by himself Henry is impressed by his good Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old looks and his power to seduceAs his mother falls into madness and his father rises from bouncer to murdererittle Henry runs away with his nine month old brother in search of a better ifeAfter three hair raising years on the streets they find a moment of happiness in the classroom of Miss O Shea A cruel nun turns him back onto the streets but not before Henry captures his teacher s heartEven as everyone wastes away around him he never doubts his egendary potential Five years Gray Bishop later at the ripe age of 14 Henry finally stumbles into history and again into the arms of Miss O SheaThe novel s spectacular second section opens at the Easter Rising in 1916 I held myeft arm across my eyes he begins and smashed the window Henry Smart stark and magnificent in the uniform of the Irish Citizen Army was ready for war I was walking dynamite From this point on the novel reads Puckster's First Hockey Sweater like a burning fuseHe and a sorryooking gang of revolutionaries hole up in Dublin s General Post Office and wait for government forces to decimate the building kill scores of them and take the rest into custodyOut of this futile battle told with spectacular flourish a hundred egends are born including the ballad of Henry Smart oyal patriot ferocious warrior and insatiable Liar loverTeamed with Miss O Shea and armed with his father s old woodeneg Henry carries out a series of brutal assassinations for the IRA He and his peers have no hope of beating their adversaries instead they commit atrocities to inspire greater atrocities from the BritishHis dogged oyalty to the cause no matter how naively defined makes him a valuable cog in the battle but in the end only a cog He s eventually marked for death by the same system of terror he s served so effectivelyThough he joined full of fury at the British and hope for the downtrodden Henry survives to see his cause twisted by petty greed corruption and brutality This painful awakening from moral idiocy is Henry s real claim to heroism and the novel s most profound mysteryDoyle s rich narrative style familiar to fans of his Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 1993 captures the sweep of a country breaking into civil war and the ittle moments of individual despair it causes The first part of a projected trilogy on Ireland in the 20th century A Star Called Henry revels in the sort of moral ambiguity this tragic subject demandsIf only today s real ife participants in the Irish uestion would demonstrate as much understanding as Doyle this trilogy could end in peacehttpwwwcsmonitorcom19990916p1. F Irish history A Star Called Henry is a grand picaresue novel brimming with both poignant moments and comic ones and told in a voice that is both uintessentially Irish and inimitably Roddy Doyle'.
free read A Star Called HenryN slums himself He works as an enforcer for brothel owner Dolly Oblong and due to his propensity for extreme an enforcer for brothel owner Dolly Oblong and due to his propensity for extreme has to disappear eventuallyMeanwhile Melody Smart Henry s mother struggles everyday in the appalling Gaffer living conditions of the tenements Worn out by an abysmal diet repeated pregnancies and infant deaths she gradually goes insane and meets an early death A surviving sibling Victor Henry s younger brother is his constant companion as they struggle to survive but he dies of consumption in the street aged 4 Henry iseft totally alone Having to struggle just to get food and shelter each day this street urchin Circumstantial Evidence lacks any education either in the three Rs or in the history morality and culture of his societyI found the early scenes of slumife uite fascinating and it brought back memories of reading Frank McCourt s memoir about his early Lone Star Justice: The First Century of the Texas Rangers life in similar circumstances in Angela s Ashes The first person narrator of the book Henry Smart has a sharp brain and a uick mouth so his anecdotes are uite witty and astute Iaughed out oud on some occasions and emitted audible groans at other times as I read of the horrendous poverty and deprivation he and his family sufferedAs the story moved on to the 1916 Easter Uprising then the subseuent Fenian movement my interest waned a bit There is a ot of detail about minor characters and episodes which I did not connect with Perhaps an Irish reader familiar with their own national heritage would appreciate the intricacies of the story better than I I was pleased that Henry kept on keeping on eventually making good and ready to take on England by the end of the book I think Roddy Doyle wished to present Henry Smart as some sort of A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping likeable rogue but I found him very unattractive The character is brilliantly written all credit to Doyle for the uality of his portrayal but Henry is not my kind of hero Undoubtedly the harsh environment in which he grew up explains his propensity for stealing and cheating but I draw theine at cold blooded murder Also Henry is remarkably vain intensely conscious of his sexual appeal to women which he exploits in a Island of the Lost Horses (Dora and Friends) licentious way He believes he is the big swinging dick of Dublin circa 1916 but I didn t buy it This book is the first volume in a trilogy about Henry Smart so he obviously must survive and flourish as the 20th century progresses Speaking personally I won t be following his story into the seuelsOne of my main beefs with the writing style employed by Roddy Doyle is his determination to be intenselyiterary A Booker Prize winner for the wonderful Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha he resides within a distinguished iterary tradition
I think there are echoes of other revered Irish writers God Said, Ha!: A Memoir like Joyce and Colm Toibin to name but two in his work But the book is so goddamn wordyayers and ayers of description and dialogue At some points I was screaming for the sub editor s pencil Oh for some simplicity Henry Smart is an unforgettable character ranking in my book with the ikes of Oscar Matzerath Ignatius J Reilly and Aureliano Buendia And this book is a great primer on the Easter This is only my second Doyle the other being Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha which I thought was great and from the two I see that On the Right Side of a Dream language is Doyle s thing uirky and gritty in keeping with theives he portrays as well as his dark humor In the first part of this novel those ualities are showcased tremendously even if it s done in a tall tale vein which isn t something I usually care for In fact the whole novel is picaresue another thing I m not particularly fond of though this is historical fiction of a sort mixing fictional characters with the realIn many ways this novel comes close to brilliance though ultimately I found it flawed with some pointless repetition and plot holes as wide as Henry s father s wooden eg While the novel gives a good feel for what iving in Dublin during the Irish Rebellion must ve been Operation Iceberg : The Invasion and Conquest of Okinawa in World War II like I think if anyone knows about this part of Irish history than I do they might only feel bored I did appreciate the depiction of theeaders of the Rebellion as mere humans and not necessarily heroes and I agree with the inevitable conclusion Henry reaches at the end about those now in powerI also appreciate Doyle s attempt at rendering the role of women during this time in the character of the mythic Miss O Shea alone she is maiden crone mother together she and Henry are Bonnie and Clyde superheroes but ultimately that representation turns out to be telling than showing as everything is from Henry s point of viewBecause I wish I could read the way Granny Nash does I think Doyle must have the same unrealistic reading dreams I do Together we pushed and pulled my britches down to my thighs Then Annie grabbed my arse before it had a chance to draw breath Jesus what s thatIt was a sheet of twopenny stamps still stuck to my cheeks a week after Miss O Shea had thrown me down onto them Stamps I said What are they doing there It was the only way I could smuggle them out You can write to your husband now Annie I said The dead can t read said Annie And he couldn t read any. Hood on the streets of Dublin to his role as soldier and Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq lover in the Irish Rebellion Henry recounts his early years of reckless heroism and adventure At once an epic aove story and a portrait .and I think there are echoes of other revered Irish writers ike
My favorite Roddy Doyle book A Star Called Henry is
the fictional story of a young man Henry Smart growing up in the Ireland of the early 20th century Ifictional story of a young man Henry Smart growing up in the Ireland of the early 20th century I preferred this over the well known but sentimental Angela s Ashes by Frank McCourt Doyle doesn t mince words and much of his imagery contradicts the Ireland many of our grandparents may have described to us growing up It may not be the Ireland they chose to remember and tell us about but it is the one they chose to Michelin Green Guide Normandy leave Andeave they did in the tens of thousands This is the Ireland of Michael Collins and the Black and Tan a stratified society full of class ethnic and religious prejudice staggering poverty and imited economic and educational opportunity The resulting anger resentment and hatred is personified in and imited economic and educational opportunity The resulting anger resentment and hatred is personified in character of Henry who finds himself part of the IRA almost by accident Doyle writes with his usual wit and an impeccable ear for the Irish anguage Highly recommended I have now added a bit at the end of this review thoughts that have ater occurred to meThe making and breaking of an IRA man I didn t uite know what I was getting myself into when I started this one but I am very glad I did No regrets on reading it I had a hard time with the dialogue but it shouldn t be different I iked the whole book the start the middle the end Easter Monday 1916 read about it through Henry Smart s eyes It stands out but I won t say why Truly a good description of why one would become an IRA man awhile another might turn away One can spot Irish iterature a mile away I feel there is a tendency to wallow in misery I don t What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World like that Life is grim for many people in many different times and places There is something about how Irishiterature is always so black and despondent and all is so hopeless Language is often crude Often characters resort to alcohol There is I Got a New Friend little humor and few glimmers of hope Maybe I don t understand the humor I am very very glad I read this book The message is good but reading it was not easy You come away with an understanding of the characters The relationship between Henry and his father gives perhaps a heart warming glimmer to the book I am water I need to flow I don t have theeisure of thought I don t have the capacity of it I am a part of the picture I flow to the edge of a cliff and I fall I swerve and dance besides mountains and fields I am guided by the rocks and pebbles I entertain sundry for a dip into my wetness Sometimes I am placid and calm to the guy with the hat and boots and jacket as he patiently holds the The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War line for a catch I merge into the sea or the ocean and though I mayook sedate on the surface I have an inner turmoil I save but then I destroy too I have a journey a Experiencing the Resurrection: The Everyday Encounter That Changes Your Life long one but it is never defined by me I am water I need to flowAnd I am Henry Smart named after my father Henry Smart the original one the oneegged one the bouncer standing at th GrandA Star Called Henry by Irish writer Roddy Doyle is a rare find a book that blends a genuine anguage a uniue narrative structure and an amazing story Told from a first person past tense omnipresent perspective the reader is ed along a remembered past full of historical dramatic irony with glimpses into a mysterious future We are with an infant Henry Smart as he is born and trace a tragi comic upbringing in the dirty streets of 1902 DublinUsing Henry s wild feral childhood as a vehicle to examine the events eading up to the "birth of the Irish Republic and subseuent Civil War Doyle then places Henry suare in the middle of the gangster "of the Irish Republic and subseuent Civil War Doyle then places Henry suare in the middle of the gangster complicated fight for Irish independence This is at once a moving character study of an Irish Everyman representing and illustrating the good the bad and the ugly of a centuries old culture that had produced him and also a portrait of the Irish civilization itself an amalgam of poverty hardship pain tenacity and perseverance Henry becomes a personification of the time and place he is the uintessential Irishman of this time tough resilient violent charismatic but with a simple desire for ove and happinessBluntly refusing to paint over the dark side of Irish Babes in Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band life of the pre Irish Republic Doyle is an objective reporter of brutality and a culture that blithely accepts it as a matter of course The author s course brushstrokes reveal the result of centuries of oppression and abject scarcity There are heroes and villains on both sides of the fight and Doyle painstakingly displays all to his reader Certainly sympathetic Doyle nevertheless never wholly forgives the mean spiritedness of his ancestors rather he describes them as theyikely were hard scrabble survivors whose atavistic pragmatism had The Meaning of Star Trek little use for the niceties of Western civilization This is simply a very very good book At times funny this is an unapologetic account of a difficult time This is the story of Henry Smart a Dublin slum boy born in profound poverty in 1901 who survives on the streets by his wits and physical strength His father Henry Smart senior is well known around the slums thanks to his woodeneg He is a violent thug and killer for hire a product of the Dubli. Born at the beginning of the twentieth century Henry Smart Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt lives through the evolution of modern Ireland and in this extraordinary novel he brilliantly tells his story From his own birth and child.