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The commitments by Roddy Doyle

The commitments (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Roddy Doyle

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1,059197,926 (3.86)51
Title:The commitments
Authors:Roddy Doyle
Info:New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books, 1989, c1987.
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (1987)

  1. 00
    The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (charl08)
  2. 00
    The Ballydoolin privates by Eamon Francis (nessreader)
    nessreader: Ballydoolin is about young fellas from Dublin who join the army; they're a generation or 2 older than Doyle's heroes but very similar. Funny, earthy and warm.

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» See also 51 mentions

English (18)  Dutch (1)  All (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Laurence Kinlan (of Love/Hate) does a brilliant job reading (and singing!) the audio version.
  chronic | Mar 23, 2017 |
I have been a fan of Roddy Doyle's writing for some years but had not read this book. I know he relies heavily on dialogue but this one is also padded with song lyrics. It is an enjoyable, easy read with his trademark humour and now I will have to purchase the rest of the trilogy. I would love to hear the soundtrack to this movie. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jun 11, 2016 |
I don't know that I've ever read a book that I could nearly sing along to before, which is certainly the case in this short novel about a soul band being formed in Dublin, Ireland. A fun, quick read for anyone who loves soul music or even classic rock. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 2, 2016 |
A very short and funny story about a group of blue collar guys, mostly in their late teens, who form a soul music band. The characters are colorful and the language is very Dublin (I imagine...) In a seemingly short span of time and pages, Doyle manages to pack it in with politics (gender roles, socioeconomics, racial issues...) and personal relations that have the complex entanglement of a small community. There is a cynical undertone, especially about class and gender differences, which is nevertheless kept very light hearted. A flavorful, fast read mostly based on slang and dialog.

Recommended for those who like nipples, James Brown, and garage bands. ( )
  bluepigeon | Jul 31, 2015 |
Roddy Doyle's first book tells of the inception, rise and fall of an Irish band called The Commitments. The book is the anchor of Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy, together with his next two novels—[The Snapper] and [The Van].

The story is fast-paced, told primarily through dialogue, set off with dashes rather than traditional quotation marks. That quirk and the working-class Irish slang present minor challenges to understanding, but you catch on quickly. Be aware that f-bombs are tossed freely from line to line.

As the tale begins, three lads from the working class Barrytown section of Dublin, Ireland, are forming a band.

Outspan, Derek and Ray's group…was three days old; Ray on the Casio and his little sister's glockenspiel, Outspan on his brother's acoustic guitar, Derek on nothing yet but the bass guitar as soon as he'd the money saved.

Disharmony already infects the group. Outspan and Derek are skeptical about the band's name, among other issues. Without Ray's knowledge, the two appeal to Jimmy Rabbitte for ideas and advice.

Jimmy Rabbitte knew his music. He knew his stuff alright…The last time Outspan had flicked through Jimmy's records he'd seen names like Microdisney, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Otis Redding, The Screaming Blue Messiahs…groups that Outspan had never heard of, never mind heard. Jimmy even had albums by Frank Sinatra and The Monkees…Jimmy knew what was what.

So Jimmy meets with Derek and Outspan, and he questions them about their band and its purpose, their intentions and aspirations, personnel, musical styles, and, of course, the name. Derek and Outspan are fairly short of ideas, but not Jimmy.

---Where are yis from? (He answered the question himself.) ---Dublin. (He asked another one.) ---Wha' part o' Dublin? Barrytown. Wha' class are yis? Workin' class. Are yis proud of it? Yeah, yis are. (Then a practical question.) ---Who buys the most records? The workin' class. Are yis with me? (Not really.) ---Your music should be abou' where you're from an' the sort o' people yeh come from. -----Say it once, say it loud, I'm black an' I'm proud.
They looked at him…
They were stunned by what came next.
---The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads.
They nearly gasped: it was so true.

Jimmy quickly takes charge by proposing a musical genre—soul—and a name—The Commitments. He recruits a singer named Declan Cuffe who works in the shop he does; he'd heard him sing at a Christmas party, his voice "a real deep growl that scraped on the throat and tongue on its way out." He'll be Deco from now on, Jimmy tells him.

An ad placed in the Hot Press classifieds brings a stream of aspirants to the Rabbitte home, including one Joey The Lips Fagan, a trumpet player who is, as Jimmy exclaims, "the same age as me f**kin' da!"

Replies Joey, "---You may speak the truth, Brother Rabbitte, but I'm sixteen years younger than B. B. King. And six years younger than James Brown." Astonished that Joey even knows who James Brown is, Jimmy is more astonished that he claims to have "jammed with the man." Yes, James Brown and about two dozen other famous rockers. Joey's in, of course, and Jimmy is delighted. "He knew now that everything was going to be alright."

The book surges on. Jimmy lines up additional band members including three girl backup singers. All gather in a garage behind Joey The Lips's mother's house. They talk and talk, about individual nicknames, about performance models, about musical styles. In twos and threes, they bicker and complain about bandmates. Of course, they practice individually and collectively, first mastering their instruments, then playing together, then all playing a single song, beginning to end, then another, and another.

Jimmy gets the band venues in which to perform. At first, they're entertaining neighborhood kids in the church hall, but they move up to a squalid pub, followed by a better pub. With increasing success, internal rivalries and frictions grow. Eventually, the whole falls to pieces.

Read the whole book—takes only a day or two. You'll like it.
  weird_O | Jun 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Doyle, Roddyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moppes, Rob vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeuli, GiulianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Eert uw vader en uw moeder, broeders en zusters.
Ook zij waren eens tè gekke vogels, weet je wel.
Ouders zijn soul.

"Fratelli e sorelle, onorate il padre e la madre.
Anche loro avevano la musica nel sangue,
una volta. I genitori sono soul".



Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Dit boek is opgedragen aan mijn moeder en mijn vader
First words
'We vragen het Jimmy,' zei Outspan. 'Jimmy weet het wel.'
- Chiediamolo a Jimmy, disse Outspan. - Jimmy lo saprà di sicuro.
Jimmy Rabbitte ne capiva di musica. Eccome se ne capiva. Qaundo andava in un centro, non lo si vedeva mai tornare a casa senza un nuovo album o un LP o come minimo un singolo. Ogni settimana Jimmy si divorava Melody Maker e NME, Hot Press ogni due settimane. Ascoltava Dave Fanning e John Peel. Leggeva perfino Jackie di sua sorella, quando nessuno lo vedeva. Senz'altro Jimmy ne capiva.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book that Alan Parker's movie is based on.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679721746, Paperback)

This funky, rude, unpretentious first novel traces the short, funny, and furious career of a group of working-class Irish kids who form a band, The Commitments. Their mission: to bring soul to Dublin!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A group of working-class Irish youths with a passion for the music of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding form a rock 'n' roll band and attempt to bring soul to Dublin.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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