Reviewed: Life Without Children by Roddy DoylePublished 03/11/2021
Title: Life Without Children
Author: Roddy Doyle
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Reviewer: Joanna Geoghegan
Publication date: 07 October 2021
Roddy Doyle’s stunning new anthology, Life Without Children, offers ten snapshots of Irish lives throughout the pandemic. From exhausted healthcare workers to estranged family members, each of the stories contained within Life Without Children offers a kaleidoscope of perspectives on human nature, and how difficult circumstances bring out the best – and worst – in all of us.
Doyle portrays the ups and downs of Irish lives in a way that few others can, combining a keen understanding of the human condition and witty sense of humour with a razor sharp eye for detail. Life Without Children explores how we navigate mental health, relationships and loss, and illustrates how the challenges we face in our everyday lives have been compounded by the pandemic.
Life Without Children is a meditation on the importance of intimacy and communication, and the need for unity in the face of adversity. Doyle creates an opportunity to discuss men’s mental health within an Irish context by portraying the challenges that many men must face, such as the sudden loss of a sense of purpose, coping with the serious illness of a loved one, and dealing with bereavement.
Doyle effortlessly captures the human capacity for resilience and tenderness in Life Without Children. A beautiful new title from one of Ireland’s finest authors, the stories in this anthology chronicle the ebb and flow of human connection, beginning with separation and ending in reconciliation.
Hear more from Roddy Doyle at our live audience event in Smock Alley Theatre, being broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena show as part of Dublin Book Festival 2021.
Keen to read the book before the event? Pick up a copy from our partners The Gutter Bookshop.