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Summary

Born in the slums of Dublin in 1901, his father a one-legged whore-house bouncer and settler of scores, Henry Smart has to grow up fast. By the time he can walk he's out robbing, begging, often cold, always hungry, but a prince of the streets. At 14, already six-foot-two, Henry's in the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916, a soldier in the Irish Citizen Army, fighting for freedom. A year later he's ready to die for Ireland again, a rebel, a Fenian and soon, a killer. With his father's wooden leg as his weapon, Henry becomes a republican legend, one of Michael Collins' boys, a cop killer, an assassin on a stolen bike.

An historical novel like none before it, A Star Called Henry marks a new chapter in Roddy Doyle's writing. It is a vastly more ambitious book than any he has written before. A subversive look behind the legends of Irish republicanism, at its centre a passionate love story, this is a triumphant work of fiction.

©1999 Roddy Doyle (P)1999 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"This is a radical departure for Doyle, and a stunning success." (Amazon.co.uk)

What listeners say about A Star Called Henry

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Excellent story and narration

Listened with partner and home educated teenager (eek, lots of underage sex!) during the period of the centenary of the Easter Rising. The writing is excellent, like swift poetry, as is Roddy's telling, which regularly went into snippets of song and kept the humour deadpan. I also appreciated, towards the end of the story, the critique of the modern Irish culture yet to come, which took this period of hope and desperation and turned it into something many involved would have cringed at. I was at a commemorative event for the Rising recently when the local mayor ascertained that the leaders of the Rising would have been proud of Ireland as it stands. I doubt it somehow, particularly for those with the harder line Socialist outlook.... Thousands of homeless children and yet so many empty houses and entire empty estates while the government and banks manufacture a mini property bubble, 'the great oil and gas giveaway', the few refugees let in kept in institutions, etc, etc. Personally I see Connolly spinning in his grave.

I very rarely read or listen to fiction but I loved this. Recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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a must!

A pleasure to listen to , would higly recommend. Roddy Doyle at his finest! beautifully read by the author.

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Fantastic but abridged

This is a great book read by Roddy Doyle himself. My only complaint is the book is slightly abridged.

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An amazing view of a fascinating time in Ireland

Brilliantly punchy dialogue, intriguing characters. It made me laugh, it made me cry. I w listened to it twice. Having the author narrate the story gives a real feeling of intimacy.

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riveting

read it at one sitting. powerful. poetic. poignant. beautiful . cant wait to read more

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Infatuated

Loved this book the first time I read it! Even better listening to Mr Doyle himself, read it to me!

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Beautifully told.

Drank up every word and finished within a day. Doyle's mix colloquial voice and serious subject matter are perfectly balanced.

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Outstanding book

Top class performance , Thought provoking, well written, well read. one you will listen to again and again.

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Love Roddy Doyle Books

Loved it as a hard back and have re read and listened to it many times since. Fantastically entertaining although the narration isn't always the best.

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5 Stars! Amazing

What a story! and brilliantly narrated by the author himself. I would thoroughly recommend this audiobook. The story is captivating and the characters are life size.

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  • 14-11-18

A bloody lovely listen

The best I have read from Roddy Doyle and a great take on a pivotal time in Irish history. I just wish Roddy would get his finger out and record the other 2 books there is an recording of the second book but it’s a shocking Irish accent