Dole Does It Better than Ever
This collection is absolutely delightful. In each, Doyle focuses on coflicts and relationships among recent immigrants and native Irish. He manages to get inside the heads and hearts of his characters, their anxieties and fears, their hopes and plans, and especially their difficulty in adjusting to Irish life and culture. At times touchingly sad, these stories provide even more smiles and a good many laughs out loud.
The title story brings back Jimmy Rabbitt of The Commitments, now married and the father of four whose names reflect his love of himself and Motown: Jimmy Two, Marvin, Mahalia, and Smoky. Jimmy decides to form a new band made up entirely of immigrants ("No Irish need apply"). Great story!
I also loved "Guess Who's Coming for the Dinner" (you can guess what that one is about, but it will surprise you) and the one about Deklan, a half-black Irish native who comes to study literature in New York (but can't decide if he should focus on Irish Literature or The Harlem Renaissance).
I read the book in print but also listened to it on tape. The reader is a wonder; he's Irish, which always enhances Irish audiobooks, but he also does a mean Zimbabwean accent, sings the lyrics to The Deportees' numbers, and even does a fair job of giving voice to two-year old Mahalia Rabbitt.