At the end of Oh, Play That Thing, the second volume of Roddy Doyle's trilogy about Henry Smart, Henry, his leg severed in an accident with a railway boxcar, crawls into the Utah desert to die - only to be discovered by John Ford, who's there shooting his latest Western. Ford recognizes a fellow Irish rebel and determines to turn Henry's story - a ...
At the end of Oh, Play That Thing, the second volume of Roddy Doyle's trilogy about Henry Smart, Henry, his leg severed in an accident with a railway boxcar, crawls into the Utah desert to die - only to be discovered by John Ford, who's there shooting his latest Western. Ford recognizes a fellow Irish rebel and determines to turn Henry's story - a boy volunteer at the GPO in 1916, a hitman for Michael Collins, a republican legend - into a film. He appoints him 'IRA consultant' on his new film, The Quiet Man. The Dead Republic opens in 1951. Henry is returning to Ireland for the first time since his escape in 1922. With him are the stars of Ford's film, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, and the famous director himself, 'Pappy', who in a series of intense, highly charged meetings has tried to suck the soul out of Henry and turn it into Hollywood gold-dust. Ten years later Henry is in Dublin, working in Ratheen as a school caretaker, nicknamed 'Hoppy Henry' by the boys on account of his wooden leg. When he is caught in a bomb blast, that wooden leg gets left behind. He finds himself a hero: the old IRA veteran who's lost his leg to a UVF bomb. Wheeled out by theProvos, Henry is to find he will have other uses too, when the peace process begins in deadly secrecy...In three brilliant novels, A Star Called Henry, Oh, Play That Thing and The Dead Republic, Roddy Doyle has told the whole history of Ireland in the twentieth century. And in the person of his hero, he has created one of the great characters of modern fiction.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-02-08 Doyle digs into the modern history of Ireland in the concluding volume to the life story of Henry Smart, a teenage Sinn Fein triggerman first encountered in A Star Called Henry. Here, an aging Henry must preserve his own legend, which is taken away from him first for a film, and then by the IRA. In the mid-1940s, film director John Ford plans to make a movie based on Henry's life, but Henry eventually realizes the film that Ford has planned will reduce his story to sentimental pap. Upon returning to Ireland with Ford, Henry plans on killing the director, but his callousness has faded, and he drifts into the Dublin suburbs, where he meets a respectable widow who may be his long-disappeared wife. Henry ages in obscurity until the '70s, when the IRA uses a distorted version of Henry's story as a PR ploy; as the IRA man who runs Henry explains, "we hold the copyright" to the Irish story. Doyle is a stellar storyteller, though not a faultless one-characters tend to editorialize at the drop of a hat; yet Doyle exhibits a peerless ear for cynicism as he grapples with the violence and farce of Irish history. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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