The Woman Who Walked into Doors (Paperback)
by Roddy Doyle
|Format:||Paperback 240 pages|
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This is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.
Publisher and industry reviews
"Roddy Doyle's unsparing examination of a brutal marriage transcends the boundaries of class and nationhood."
"Paula Spencer may be Doyle's most successful literary creation yet, a tour de force of literary ventriloquism that gives the lie to the old writing workshop canard that a man can't write from the point of view of a woman, let alone in her voice."
UK Kirkus review
Doyle followed the success of Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha, where he saw the world from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy, by placing himself in the position of a 39-year-old woman - and from the first page he is as convincing as he is original. The heroine is a Dublin cleaner, a woman trapped in a dead marriage, hopeless, battered by the man she loved for years, observed by her children in all her indignity - and yet throughout she is vital, funny, lovable, big as the lovely Molly Bloom in Ulysses, strong in her convictions - a fighter too, though not physically, she leaves her husband to use the fist, she has wit and pluck, and an eye for elegance. 'Walking into doors' is the euphemism Paula Spencer used to conceal the atrocities she suffered at the hand of this violent husband, Charlo. Since throwing him out of the family home, she has struggled with her alcoholism, bringing up four children with virtually no money, and uncomfortable memories that remind her of why she married him in the first place. Now she finds Charlo has been shot dead during a failed robbery; her whole life needs an explanation (where did the 1980s go? Why did she put up with the abuse?). The answers she finds 'mocked my marriage, my love; they mocked my whole life'. Paula tries to wrestle free from the guilt that places her at the centre of the issue; she remembers one visit to a hospital: 'I was there because of my husband's temper, because I'd provoked him, because I didn't deserve him'. Yet somehow, this is not a depressing tale. Roddy Doyle writes her in the first person, so the story is direct and sharp. He slips under her skin and stays there all the way to the end. From page one, you know the spirit that moves this woman beyond everything else is optimism: optimism in love, in the future, in her children - and you also know that this woman, despite her poverty and apparent insignificance, is a very great heroine indeed. The book fairly cracks along with Doyle's characteristic poignancy and brutality, and is one of those that is over far too soon. Doyle takes you right inside Paula and her appalling mess of a life, without once making her an object of pity. Brilliant. (Kirkus UK)
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