In "57% Irish", a man decides to devise a test of Irishness by measuring reactions to three things: Riverdance, the song "Danny Boy", and Robbie Keane's goal against Germany in the 2002 World Cup. And in the wonderful title story, "Jimmy Rabbitte", the man who formed The Commitments decides that it's time to find a new band - a multicultural outfit that specializes not in soul music but in the folk songs of Woody Guthrie.
With empathy and insight, The Deportees and Other Stories takes a new slant on the immigrant experience, something of increasing relevance in today's Ireland.
Roddy Doyle has presented a marvelous and diverse collection of short stories here, all of them dealing with the new immigrants to Ireland (mostly from Africa and Eastern Europe) and the ways the native-born Irish relate to them. The first story, "Guess Who's Coming for the Dinner?" had me laughing out loud at the main character's good-natured attempts to be PC and open-minded. But the collection explores a wide range of emotions and situations, from Jimmy Rabitt of The Commitments' effort to raise a new band to a child devastated by the war in the Sudan. The reader, too, is absolutely perfect. Great accents, and he sings well, too!
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High Lee’s performance is one of the best I’ve heard. Doyle’s prose and his sensibilities are refreshing.