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Smile

Narrated by: Roddy Doyle
Length: 5 hrs and 3 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $33.71

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Smile, written and read by Roddy Doyle.

Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humour, the superb evocation of childhood – but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to re-evaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.

Just moved in to a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly's pub for a pint, a slow one.

One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor's name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick. Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories too – of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor's own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio.

But it's the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.

©2017 Roddy Doyle (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Roddy Doyle's finest book in 20 years." (John Boyne)
"A book that made me feel I really was in the presence of a master." (Sebastian Barry)
"Doyle writes about damage without relish or sensationalism. In Smile he manages to be considered and to take risks at the same time." (Anne Enright)

What listeners say about Smile

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  • Ms. Caroline A. Wilde
  • 17-09-2017

Brilliant but disturbing

Roddy Doyle always brings you into the heart of Dublin life, the characters you recognise, the scenarios you've witnessed for yourself. The middle aged men he describes could be in any bar you walk into, the tiny world of Irish celebrity during the boom years is astutely accurate. As you believe the voice of the main character, you are drawn into the insecurities of the modern male, eclipsed by a more successful and stronger partner, emasculated, but sweet and supportive. Beneath it all, however, is a dark undercurrent, a scar that cannot heal. The ramifications of this are slowly revealed, the reconstructed outer personality hiding the horror within. I cannot help but hope none of this is biographical.

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  • Bee
  • 15-09-2017

Totally absorbing tale of finding a way to live

A close relative of mine went to a Christian Brothers institution so at times-even though the descriptions of casual cruelty are low key- this was amost too much for me. But, but the writing kept me coming back. Brilliant.

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  • Tas
  • 08-09-2017

Brilliant!!!

I was blown away by this work, I wanted to get back into fiction & this definitely got me there!

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  • Stephen reid
  • 17-08-2019

What a superb book . The ending is truly shocking

So different to his other books. The raw guilt of institutional abuse by individuals that wreck the victims life. A book that sadly will echo with thousands of his countrymen who suffered this nightmare..

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  • Clady Lad
  • 22-06-2019

An excellent listen

As a big fan of Roddy Doyle's work, and also a student whose parents entrusted my education to the 'loving care' of The Christian Brothers, this was a must-buy for me and I was not disappointed. It tackles, head-on, a running sore with Ireland's messy intermeshed relationship between The Church and authority, shedding further light on the already well-documented damage this has done to many people over the years. The book is quite different in style for RD but as always the wonderful natural feel of the dialogue makes it seem as if you're sitting at an adjacent table in a bar just listening in. The story moves on at a good pace with excellent narration by the author and there's no filler here whatsoever. Others have mentioned the ending with some unhappy with it, however I found it excellent and completely unexpected.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-03-2018

Very sad story well told.

its always special when the author narrated. Sad story well told. recommend it highly to all.

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  • Michelle
  • 18-12-2017

Not as good as the hype portrayed

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I downloaded this book having heard it reviewed on Radio 4. Unfortunately I didn't feel it deserved the glowing report. Although the setting and characters were portrayed eloquently, there was little substance to the story. I felt little for the characters and found even less that hooked me into their predictable disclosures. A disappointing purchase.