Viking. Jun. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781984880451. $27. F
Dubliners Davy and Joe were boon companions in youth, so alike they sometimes fell in love with the same women. Now Davy lives in England and sees Joe only during visits to his elderly father. One night, Joe and Davy meet over dinner and drinks for old time’s sake, and Joe confesses that he’s left his wife for a woman he and Davy met over 30 years ago. They spend the evening talking about their lives, sparring about their friendship, and opening old wounds. As they move from one Dublin pub to another, Davy and Joe alternate between resenting each other and reconciling, finally achieving a sort of peace when Davy’s ailing father takes a turn for the worst. If this night is the last Davy and Joe see of each other, at least they part as friends.
VERDICT Doyle’s latest novel (after Smile) brilliantly highlights his ear for speech, especially the recursive fluency of inebriation. Narrated by Davy, this novel is a tough and tender celebration of the complexities of authentic friendship, as well as the ephemeral nature of memory. [See Prepub Alert, 12/2/19.]
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