The Guts

Viking. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780670016433. $27.95. F
OrangeReviewStarIt's rare to read about a man's midlife crisis, complete with a stalled career, bowel cancer, and an extramarital affair, and burst out laughing. Yet acclaimed Irish author Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha) pulls it off with his trademark running dialog replete with Irish obscenities and sly musical references. Readers may remember Jimmy Rabbitte from Doyle's first novel, The Commitments. Now a music promoter reviving old bands at, Jimmy is your average bloke trying to pay his bills, raise his kids, and come to terms with his own mortality, all while struggling with text messaging and other modern tribulations. When Jimmy and some lads, including his estranged brother Les and former Commitments guitarist Liam "Outspan" Foster, take in an outdoor music festival (think: Irish Woodstock), hilarity ensues. There are plenty of poignant moments among the laughs, too.
VERDICT Sensitive readers may not get past the foul language, which is a shame, and even Anglophiles may need to read sections aloud to decipher the Irish slang, but this work is too good to miss. Grand! [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/13.]

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