Roddy Doyle Long Fiction Analysis
One of Roddy Doyle’s greatest attributes as a writer is his ear for voice and dialogue, and his first five novels in particular display this gift to excellent effect. With minimal third-person narration, Doyle uses realistic dialogue—such as profanities and regional dialect—to achieve vivid characterization. It is not surprising that several of his novels have been adapted effectively for film, since his dialogue-heavy expository technique is essentially dramatic, or cinematic.
Some commentators, however, claim that Doyle’s emphasis on dialogue detracts from the novels’ plots. Character takes precedence in these novels over author, narrator, and plot. Considered chronologically, Doyle’s novels demonstrate an increasingly complex interaction between dialogue and narration. Because his characters do most of their speaking for themselves, there is little evidence of an authoritative, controlling consciousness in his novels. This technique empowers Doyle’s characters even as it deprives readers of a comforting narrative guide; whether Doyle is using first-person or third-person narration, there is no concrete, objective perspective with which to compare and measure the perspective of the protagonist.
Doyle’s dialogue has attracted much commentary because his characters belong to an economic and social class underrepresented in literature. Prior to Doyle’s Barrytown novels, the contemporary, urban, working class of Dublin was an...
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