Ten years on from The Woman Who Walked into Doors, Roddy Doyle returns to one of his greatest characters, Paula Spencer
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of seven acclaimed novels and Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Reader Biography Ger Ryan is a native of Dublin. She began her career in theatre in 1985 and has since had many roles both on television and in feature films, including The Commitments and The Van. She read The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, the prequel to Paula Spencer, for Random House Audiobooks and also played Paula Spencer in Roddy Doyle's acclaimed series Family for the BBC.
Loyal readers will recognize Paula Spencer as the battered but spunky survivor from Doyle's admirable 1996 novel, The Woman Who Walked into Doors. Now in her late forties, Paula has made some progress since the long-ago violent demise of her brutal husband, Charlo, though survival is day to day and dependent on her charwoman's wages. She has broken free of her addiction to drink-at least for four months and five days-and vows to stay sober, get her dysfunctional family in order, and, however tentatively, grab her piece of the action in Dublin's go-go "Celtic Tiger" scene. Related almost entirely in dialog, the story captures the lower levels of North Dublin's working-class populace, as represented by Paula, in the midst of cultural and economic upheaval. (The description of Paula's first visit to a new neighborhood Italian caf? is worth the purchase price itself.) The four grown Spencer offspring, Paula's two sisters, and a promising romantic interest make up an entertaining supporting cast. Highly recommended for most fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/06.]-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The heroine of Doyle's 1996 bestseller, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, returns long widowed (abusive husband Charlo having been killed fleeing the Irish police) and four months sober. Those absences and old relationships mark the year we follow in Paula's new life: she worries that her daughter, Leanne, is following in her footsteps; negotiates her resentment of her bossy older daughter, Nicola; and reconciles with her son, John Paul, now a recovering heroin addict with two kids of his own. Doyle, Booker Winner for Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha and author of The Commitments, does a lot in this novel by doing little: it is John Paul's quiet distance, for example, that serves as a constant reminder of the horrendous mother and pitiful alcoholic Paula used to be. The newfound prosperity of Ireland affects Paula's day-to-day life on the bottom of the economic scale which suddenly looks a lot different. Paula's inner life lacks subtler shades, and her outer life is full of tiring work, abstinence from liquor and family. These aren't elements that automatically make for a have-to-read novel, but in this wholly and vividly imagined case, they do. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The author's sentences reflect the tiny triumphs that mark Paula's
life as she gets through each day without alcohol. They work
particularly well on audio and the Irish narrator brings the
listener right into the minutiae of Paula's life as she struggles
to regain all she has lost, most poignantly, the love of her
alienated children. * Observer *
Ger Ryan reads Roddy Doyle's Paula Spencer with absolute conviction...and if you think you are in for a depressing listen, think again. Brave and funny, Paula looks at life with humour and compassion...it all makes for splendid listening. * Daily Express *
Doyle gets right inside the head of this 21st-century Dubliner in a stream of consciousness that is by turns moving, funny and just a little bit tedious - a real person, in other words. Ger Ryan gives compelling voice to the Dublin vernacular and for the duration of the CDs Paula becomes a presence in your life. * Sunday Times *
If you like Paula Spencer, you'll love this full-on reading by Ger Ryan. I loved every minute and look forward to the next installment. -- Arminta Wallace * Irish Times *