The Woman Who Walked into Doors
By (author) Roddy Doyle
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Woman Who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle
Book DescriptionThis is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780749395995
(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Roddy Doyle
Brilliant, Hardback (September 2015)
"First published in the United Kingdom in 2014 by Macmillan Children's Books."
Ham on Rye, Paperback (June 2015)
The autobiographical coming-of-age modern classic by one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century
Second Half, Paperback (May 2015)» View all books by Roddy Doyle
No. 1 bestselling memoir of Roy Keane, former captain of Manchester United and Ireland - co-written with Man Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle. Now updated with a new chapter.
UK Kirkus Review » Doyle followed the success of Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha, where he saw the world from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy, by placing himself in the position of a 39-year-old woman - and from the first page he is as convincing as he is original. The heroine is a Dublin cleaner, a woman trapped in a dead marriage, hopeless, battered by the man she loved for years, observed by her children in all her indignity - and yet throughout she is vital, funny, lovable, big as the lovely Molly Bloom in Ulysses, strong in her convictions - a fighter too, though not physically, she leaves her husband to use the fist, she has wit and pluck, and an eye for elegance. 'Walking into doors' is the euphemism Paula Spencer used to conceal the atrocities she suffered at the hand of this violent husband, Charlo. Since throwing him out of the family home, she has struggled with her alcoholism, bringing up four children with virtually no money, and uncomfortable memories that remind her of why she married him in the first place. Now she finds Charlo has been shot dead during a failed robbery; her whole life needs an explanation (where did the 1980s go? Why did she put up with the abuse?). The answers she finds 'mocked my marriage, my love; they mocked my whole life'. Paula tries to wrestle free from the guilt that places her at the centre of the issue; she remembers one visit to a hospital: 'I was there because of my husband's temper, because I'd provoked him, because I didn't deserve him'. Yet somehow, this is not a depressing tale. Roddy Doyle writes her in the first person, so the story is direct and sharp. He slips under her skin and stays there all the way to the end. From page one, you know the spirit that moves this woman beyond everything else is optimism: optimism in love, in the future, in her children - and you also know that this woman, despite her poverty and apparent insignificance, is a very great heroine indeed. The book fairly cracks along with Doyle's characteristic poignancy and brutality, and is one of those that is over far too soon. Doyle takes you right inside Paula and her appalling mess of a life, without once making her an object of pity. Brilliant. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » A skillful mixture of buoyant farce and wrenching drama from the popular Irish author (The Commitments, 1987; Booker-winner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, 1993, etc.). Doyle's protagonist and narrator, Paula Spencer, will remind readers of the hilariously feisty, foulmouthed women of his earlier books. Indeed, Paula's a match for any of them as she recalls episodes from her experiences as competitive sibling and worldly-wise schoolgirl, moonstruck young wife, and, finally, embattled mother. And the core of her adult life is her terrified relationship with abusive husband Charlo, a charismatic monster whose unpredictable swings between tenderness and violence keep the hopeful Paula in a constant state of submissive confusion. ("He loved me and he beat me. I loved him and I took it. It's as simple as that, and as stupid and complicated.") Charlo's uncontrollable thuggishness eventually removes him from her life for good, but that isn't the end of her trouble. Doyle's masterly use of jabbing, staccato sentences and emotional repetitions produces a nervous intensity that exactly reproduces how his heroine - and she is that, no other word will do - lives out her imperilled days. The novel is filled with sharply observed, amusingly distinctive characters, including even Paula's young children. Hardly any other writer alive can create families and neighborhoods full of mutually involved people with such easy authority. And nobody alive uses filthy language with such exuberant expressive virtuosity. Only in the closing pages, when Doyle's empathy with his character's plight takes on some of the righteous quality of a case study, does the grip falter. Even so, few readers will be able to look away even for a moment. Some may object that Doyle, having perfected a winning formula, is merely writing the same raucous story of small-town Irish life over and over. Well, let them. It's a bloody wonderful story. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Roddy Doyle
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of nine acclaimed novels, one collection of short stories and Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His last book, The Dead Republic, was the final volume in the Henry Smart trilogy.
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