Rob Doyle’s debut tells the story of four young Dubliners on the brink of starting a new life for themselves after finishing their exams. Matthew, Rez, Kearney and Cocker are stepping into the unknown and a trail of destruction awaits.
The lads are unhappy at the way the country is going. People are obsessed with money and property and life has become very boring for them. The Celtic Tiger is in full flow but these guys feel no identification with this new attitude that’s changing the Irish identity. The views of young and old are in stark contrast here, with the parents feeling the young people should be thankful for the rich opportunities that lie ahead of them.
There’s a strong feeling that anywhere would be better than Dublin. Doyle takes us right into the mindset of these young men as we see the dark fantasies and fear that play out in their heads. Rez is constantly overthinking things and imagines what it’d be like to be a person or animal that can just do things without the constant analysis. Every action is questioned and there’s uncertainty about whether people’s emotions and actions are real or just imitations of those seen on television and in movies.
Kearney is obsessed with video games and he dreams up scenarios where he can deal with living people as he does with the characters on the screen. He’s lost touch with the real world and feel it isn’t really for him. He’s set for a life of drugs and debauchery with little respect for the thoughts or feelings of anyone around him. His warped view of the world is shown when he goes to America and lives in a total dive but feels that this is better than living in Dublin.
Doyle writes with phenomenal energy in creating these characters that have lost their place in their world. He’s superb at showing the feeling of being totally cut off from society and the terror that can lie ahead. We’ve been a bit spoilt lately recently with new authors but Doyle stands tall among them as a superb new voice that can capture the dark undercurrent of young Ireland with insight and flair.