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The Van [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Roddy Doyle , Brendan Gleeson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 13 1995 Reed Audio
Set in a Dublin suburb during the 1990 World Cup, this novel completes a trilogy which began with "The Commitments" and "The Snapper". Jimmy Rabbitte Sr seeks refuge from the vicissitudes of unemployment by joining a friend in running a fish-and-chip van.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This final novel of Doyle's trilogy about the working-class Rabbitte family of Dublin (following The Commitments and The Snapper ) demonstrates a brash originality and humor that are both uniquely Irish and shrewdly universal. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A beaten-up van dispensing fish and chips, not some clearing in the deep woods, is the setting for Doyle's warm, humorous, and cleareyed look at male friendship--in this his third book featuring the irrepressible Rabbitte family of Dublin (The Commitments, 1989; The Snapper, see above). When Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr., loses his job, he tries to make the best of it, but what he misses most are his evenings in the local pub with his friends (``it wasn't the pints Jimmy, Sr., loved...it was the lads here, the laughing. This was what he loved''). He joins the library, develops a taste for Dickens, and takes care of granddaughter Gina; but when his best friend Bimbo is ``made redundant,'' he's delighted because now, ``only with the two of them, they could do plenty of things.'' And when Bimbo decides to buy a rusting old chipper van, Jimmy accepts his offer to join him in the venture. After much effort, the van is cleaned up, recipes are tested, and the two men are set to sell fish, chips, and burgers to football crowds and pub-goers. Despite any certification from the Health Department, they are a great success, but then the football season ends, business falters, and Jimmy, Sr., misses the fun of the old days--``He'd been starting to think that Bimbo had lost his sense of humor from hanging over the deep-fat fryer too long.'' Meanwhile, Bimbo, egged on by entrepreneurial wife Maggie, becomes bossy and assertive. An encounter with officialdom provokes a crisis in their already fraying friendship, and Bimbo drives the van into the sea; but Jimmy, not so sure the friendship can be restored, returns wet and exhausted to wife Veronica: ``Give us a hug, Veronica, will yeh...I need a hug.'' As usual, Doyle has got it all just right--this is what friendships and families are really like: stubborn, contrary, loving, and, aware of life's absurdities, always ready to be cheered by a good laugh. Vintage Doyle. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Today's Chips Today Nov. 17 2007
Format:Paperback
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958 and saw his first novel, "The Commitments", published in 1987. It was later adapted for the big screen, a version that saw Star Trek's Colm Meaney and a very young Andrea Corr among the cast. "The Van" was first published in 1991 and is the final book in his "Barrytown Trilogy". It was also nominated for that year's Booker Prize.

The book opens in late 1989, and there have been a few changes in the Rabbite house since "The Snapper". Jimmy Jr has now moved out, and is living with his girlfriend Aoife, in Clontarf. (He took his video recorder with him, but still calls round regularly to get his washing done). Leslie, on the other hand, has disappeared - to England, Jimmy Senior suspects - having fairly consistently got himself into trouble. The remainder of the family still live at home - including Sharon and her daughter, Gina. Darren is currently studying for his Leaving Cert and should do well, while the twins are rather sneakily learning how to smoke. Veronica, the mother of the family, is taking a couple of Leaving Cert subjects at night class. Jimmy Senior, on the other hand, has lost his job - and he isn't coping too well with being unemployed.

Jimmy has, more or less, learnt to put the day in - he spends quite a bit of time in the library (he doesn't think much of Alexandre Dumas) and the pitch and putt course (his game has improved dramatically). He has, understandably, had to cut back on his time in the pub...however, he misses the company of his friends more than the beer. With his self-esteem tumbling, there's an occasional flash of anger and he even starts eying up the younger ladies. Jimmy's best friend, Bimbo, then loses his job at the bakery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Corny Sept. 17 2001
By Sai Li
Format:Paperback
The Van is one of those books disguised as fiction but is actually a potboiler. The characters are unimpressive and the plot is filled with one clichéd situation after another. The third person narrative is unsuccessful because it doesn't have enough emotional impact. The lack of quotation marks makes it a very frustrating read. The prose resembles a screenplay with pages of dialogues interspersed with descriptions. The Irish dialect is tough to understand. I did start to enjoy it during the last few pages, but it wasn't worth to reread the book again. If you're interested in Irish fiction, skip this and read Dubliners by James Joyce.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Aug. 31 2001
Format:Paperback
Funny is the only word which keeps appealing to me about this novel it is so, witty and of all the books i have ever read i find this one rather amusing i never thought it would happen with a book but the language and irish humor pop up time and time again to make for superbe reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably The Most Humorous May 11 2001
Format:Paperback
I had seen the screen versions of Roddy Doyle's, "The Commitments" and "The Snapper", prior to reading his written work. As I have now experienced his work in both mediums, its as funny on the page as it is on the screen. "The Van" is the last in this trilogy and it definitely focuses on the older of the generations. The movies actually enhanced the book as the actors were spectacular and the memories of their performances kept returning to mind.
The book is almost pure dialogue, and the humor will certainly leave you in pain. The issue of colorful language has been mentioned and while there is no denying its prevalence I don't believe there was any increase in this particular book. When his work is read every word is as clear as the reader's vocabulary, when on screen the accents often rendered dialogue difficult to decipher. The cadence of his writing is so well done, that even when spoken the humor works with a word or two missing, the structure implies the emotion.
Mr. Doyle also wrote, "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors", and this was the previous work of his that I had read. As a writer he has remarkable range as the previous work was dark and violent, and the humor too was black as pitch. It was not just sad it was unsettling. His ability to portray the Human Condition whether bleak or bright, or even with humor when it is all that keeps a character going, in simply brilliant.
If you have not read this man's work or seen the movies I would recommend both formats. His material is great regardless of the medium.
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