Two old friends reconnect in Dublin for a dramatic, revealing evening of drinking and storytelling in this winning new novel from the author of the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
One summer's evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.
Drinking pals back in their youth, now married and with grown up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he needs to tell Davy, and Davy has a sorrow he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be.
Joe has left his wife and family for another woman, Jessica. Davy knows her too, or should - she was the girl of their dreams four decades earlier, the girl with the cello in George's pub. As Joe's story unfolds across Dublin - pint after pint, pub after pub - so too do the memories of what eventually drove Davy from Ireland: his first encounter with Faye, the lively woman who would become his wife; his father's somber disapproval; the pained spaces left behind when a parent dies.
As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers a delightfully comic yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.
This witty, satisfying novel about male friendship, aging, and guilt from Doyle (A Star Called Henry) dramatizes language's inadequacies when it comes to affairs of the heart. "The words are letting me down," says Dubliner Joe to Davy, his old friend visiting from England, while telling him that he has left his wife for another woman, Jessica, whom they both briefly adored as young men. Over pints at several pubs, the two 50-something Irishmen get back into their old rhythms and revive, or occasionally reinvent, the past. Joe grasps for the right metaphors or analogies with which to explain his life-altering decision to Davy as much as to himself, "testing the words" for how they sound. Davy, burdened by his own sense of guilt with regard to his rapidly declining father, is at times intrigued, bored, contemptuous, resentful, provoking, or supportive of his friend as Joe circles around his infidelity with an almost Jamesian vagueness. Some readers may chafe at Doyle's leisurely unfolding of the plot, though the two men are nothing if not good company. By closing time, Doyle has focused the novel's rambling energy into an elegiac and sobering climax. This one is a winner.
Roddy Doyle at his best. Two men working through love, grief, loss, aging, and pints. “Never pass a toilet, never waste an erection, and never trust a fart.”