Two Pints – Roddy Doyle (2012, 89 pages)
Two Pints is a series of conversations between two men who meet in a pub. Doyle has an excellent ear for dialogue and his first novel, The Commitments, was very dialogue-heavy. This is even more so, with no description at all. It’s set on specific dates and documents the characters’ reactions to events in 2011 and 2012.
Before some examples, a trigger warning for language. Roddy Doyle presents authentic voices, and those voices are sweary. Something he is quite renowned for (I’ve included this clip before, but g’wan, you will!):
There is an ongoing conversation as to the whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi:
“…An’ anyway, that’s when I see him.
– From the chipper?
– No the other one. From Libya.
– In Dublin Airport?
– Terminal 2.
– Fuck off.
– Swear to God. That’s where he’s hidin’.
– You’re sure it was him?
– Course I am. I winked at him.
– Wha’ did he do?
– He winked back.”
There are also discussions of cultural issues, both high and low:
“- D’yeh ever read poetry?
– D’you ever –
– I heard yeh. I just can’t fuckin’ believe I heard yeh.
-Well look it –
– G’wan upstairs to the lounge if yeh want to talk abou’ poetry.”
“- Wha’ does ‘thinkin’ outside the box’ mean?
– You were watchin’ The Apprentice last night, weren’t yeh?”
By the end I really felt as if I’d been in a pub overhearing two old friends talking. The simplicity of Two Pints doesn’t mean it’s prosaic though: the stories regarding a young member of the family, Damien, become increasingly surreal, with an escalating collection of exotic animals and his fracking in the back garden using a magimix. You’re never quite sure what will happen next.
“ – See the Queen’s goin’ to mention Ireland in her Christmas speech.
– Ah, great. I might mention her in mine.
-It’s a big deal.
– Not really. I just say a few words to the family.”
Warm, witty and wonderful.