Penguin Random House: 6/23/20
review copy; 336 pages
Love by Roddy Doyle is a highly recommended novel about the
friendship of two aging males during an evening of drinking and
and Joe were drinking pals back in their Dublin youth. Their friendship
has continued, albeit only for a pint or two when Davy comes over from
England to visit his elderly father. This novel covers an unusual night
when the two engage in a real bender in several different pubs. Joe is
telling the story about leaving his wife for a woman they both knew four
decades before. Their memory of events involving this woman years
earlier differs, but the two keep talking and drinking. At the end of
the night you discover the reason Davy needs the connection with his
The plot consists of two men talking and drinking over a long night.
The novel is narrated by Davy so interspersed in the dialogue between
the two men is some inner contemplation by Davy over events in his life
which lead up to the emotional climax. The novel does not feature
fast-paced action or shocking revelations, but rather it follows the
deliberate, steady pace of a conversation between two long-time friends.
Love is a novel of male friendship, aging, guilt, and the ineffectiveness of language to explain affairs of the heart.
The dialogue, which goes round and round, can be tiresome and the lack of punctuation marks may put some readers off. Davy listens to Joe and provokes him. At time they both seem to dislike each other and then work back to their friendship. There is also humor in the novel, found in the dialogue between the two. This is one of those novels that readers will either appreciate or tire of due to the lack of a plot. Those who press on through the endless pints and discussion will find a satisfying ending.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.