Table of Contents
“The story of a ten-year-old working-class boy in 1960s Dublin is not only hilarious, it is also poignant, brutal and realistic ... a stream of impressions that powerfully evokes the exhilarations and confusion of childhood. A superb conjurer, this writer never lets the reader glimpse the adult lens filtering his hero’s thoughts.”
-New York Daily News
“Magical ... A tour de force ... Paddy is a very ordinary boy going through very ordinary experiences, and that’s exactly what makes
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
so good.... Doyle writes with enormous feeling.”—
Los Angeles Times
“Wise and deeply satisfying ... Doyle does a remarkable job of avoiding sentiment, which makes Paddy’s anxious fears stark and authentic.
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
is an extraordinarily fine novel. Doyle’s spare, economical prose with its looping sense of child-time conveys the sensitive Paddy’s turmoil with intensity and assurance.”
-The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Doyle gives us one of the best English-language novels about childhood ever, one that could sit comfortably with
Catcher in the
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or Huckleberry Finn.”
“With unflinching clarity and absolutely no sentiment, Paddy
captures all the charm, playfulness and cruelty of boyhood. Paddy Clarke the character is unforgettable;
the novel is funny, tragic, and mercilessly on-target.”
The Seattle Times
“Brilliant ... original and valuable ... Doyle’s re-creation of Ireland in the mid-1960s is unerringly accurate.... A profound, disturbing, and beautifully crafted novel.”
“Most compelling ... Doyle’s deft handling of childhood makes his latest book one of his best.”—
The Christian Science Monitor
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roddy Doyle is an internationally bestselling writer. His first three novels—
The Commitments, The Snapper,
and 1991 Booker Prize finalist
available both singly and in one volume as
The Barrytown Trilogy,
published by Penguin. He is also the author of the novels
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
(1993 Booker Prize winner),
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, A Star Called Henry,
Oh, Play That Thing;
the short story collection
and a nonfiction book about his parents, Rory
Doyle has also written for the stage and the screen: the plays
Brownbread, War, Guess Who’s Coming for the Dinner, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, and The Playboy of the Western World
(as cowriter); the film adaptations of
The Snapper, and The Van; When Brendan Met Trudy
(an original screenplay); the four-part television series
for the BBC; and the television play
Hell for Leather.
Roddy Doyle has also written the children’s books
The Giggler Treatment, Rover Saves Christmas, and The Meanwhile Adventures;
the young adult novel
and contributed to a variety of publications including
The New Yorker
Speaking with the Angel
(edited by Nick Hornby), the serial novel
Yeats Is Dead!
(edited by Joseph O’Conner), and the young adult serial novel Click. He lives in Dublin.
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,
Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
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Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices; 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
First published in Great Britain by Martin Seeker & Warburg Limited 1993
First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,
a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1993
Published in Penguin Books 1995
Copyright © Roddy Doyle, 1993
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint
excerpts from the following copyrighted works:
“Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” by Hank Williams, Sr. © Copyright 1950,
renewed 1977 Acuff-Rose Music Inc., 65 Music Square West,
Nashville, TN 37023/o/b/o Warner Chappell Music/Hiriam Music, Inc. © 1950
(renewed) Hiriam Music & Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. All rights on behalf of
Hiriam Music administered by Rightsong Music Inc. International rights secured.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
“I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” by Hank Williams, Sr.,
and Fred Rose. © Copyright 1952, renewed 1980 Milene Music Inc,
65 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203/Rightsong Music. © 1952 (renewed)
Julian J. Aberbach, the Estate of Joachim Jean Aberbach and Milene Music, Inc.
All rights on behalf of Julian J. Aberbach and the Estate of Joachim Jean Aberbach
administered by Intersong USA, Inc. International rights secured.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
“Bachelor Boy,” words and music by Bruce Welch and Cliff Richard. Copyright ©
1962. Reproduced by permission of EMI Music Publishing Ltd
trading as Elstree Music, London WC2H OEA.
eISBN : 978-1-440-67372-6
(CIP data available)
This book is dedicated to
We were coming down our road. Kevin stopped at a gate and bashed it with his stick. It was Missis Quigley’s gate; she was always looking out the window but she never did anything.
—Quigley Quigley Quigley!
Liam and Aidan turned down their cul-de-sac. We said nothing; they said nothing. Liam and Aidan had a dead mother. Missis O’Connell was her name.
—It’d be brilliant, wouldn’t it? I said.
—Yeah, said Kevin.—Cool.
We were talking about having a dead ma. Sinbad, my little brother, started crying. Liam was in my class in school. He dirtied his trousers one day - the smell of it rushed at us like the blast of heat when an oven door was opened - and the master did nothing. He didn’t shout or slam his desk with his leather or anything. He told us to fold our arms and go asleep and when we did he carried Liam out of the class. He didn’t come back for ages and Liam didn’t come back at all.
James O’Keefe whispered,—If I did a gick in me pants he’d kill me!
—It’s not fair, said James O’Keefe.—So it’s not.
The master, Mister Hennessey, hated James O‘Keefe. He’d be writing something on the board with his back to us and he’d say,—O’Keefe, I know you’re up to something down there. Don’t let me catch you. He said it one morning and James O’Keefe wasn’t even in. He was at home with the mumps.
Henno brought Liam to the teachers’ toilet and cleaned him up and then he brought him to the headmaster’s office and the headmaster brought him to his auntie’s in his car because there was no one at home in his own house. Liam’s auntie’s house was in Raheny.
—He used up two rolls of toilet paper, Liam told us. —And he gave me a shilling.
—He did not; show us it.
—That’s only threepence.
—I spent the rest, said Liam.
He got the remains of a packet of Toffo out of his pocket and showed it to us.
—There, he said.
—Give us one.
—There’s only four left, said Liam; he was putting the packet back in his pocket.
—Ah, said Kevin.
He pushed Liam.
Liam went home.
Today, we were coming home from the building site. We’d got a load of six-inch nails and a few bits of plank for making boats, and we’d been pushing bricks into a trench full of wet cement when Aidan started running away. We could hear his asthma, and we all ran as well. We were being chased. I had to wait for Sinbad. I looked back and there was no one after us but I didn’t say anything. I grabbed Sinbad’s hand and ran and caught up with the rest of them. We stopped when we got out of the fields onto the end of the road. We laughed. We roared through the gap in the hedge. We got into the gap and looked to see if there was anyone coming to get us. Sinbad’s sleeve was caught in the thorns.
—The man’s coming! said Kevin, and he slid through the gap.
We left Sinbad stuck in the hedge and pretended we’d run away. We heard him snivelling. We crouched behind the gate pillars of the last house before the road stopped at the hedge, O’Driscoll’s.
—Patrick—, Sinbad whinged.
—Sin-bahhhd——, said Kevin.
Aidan had his knuckles in his mouth. Liam threw a stone at the hedge.
—I’m telling Mammy, said Sinbad.
I gave up. I got Sinbad out of the hedge and made him wipe his nose on my sleeve. We were going home for our dinner; shepherd’s pie on a Tuesday.
Liam and Aidan’s da howled at the moon. Late at night, in his back garden; not every night, only sometimes. I’d never heard him but Kevin said he had. My ma said that he did it because he missed his wife.
My da agreed with her.
—He’s grieving, said my mother.—The poor man.
Kevin’s father said that Mister O‘Connell howled because he was drunk. He never called him Mister O’Connell; he called him the Tinker.
—Will you look who’s talking, said my mother when I told her that. And then she said,—Don’t listen to him, Patrick; he’s codding you. Sure, where would he get drunk? There’s no pubs in Barrytown.
—There’s three in Raheny, I said.
—That’s miles away, she said.—Poor Mister O’Connell. No more talk about it.
Kevin told Liam that he saw his da looking up at the moon and howling like a werewolf.
Liam said he was a liar.
Kevin dared him to say that again but he didn’t.
Our dinner wasn’t ready and Sinbad had left one of his shoes back in the building site. We’d been told never to play there so he told our ma that he didn’t know where it was. She smacked the back of his legs. She held onto his arm but he still kept ahead of her so she wasn’t really getting him properly. He still cried though, and she stopped.
Sinbad was a great crier.
—You’re costing me a blessed fortune, she told Sinbad.
She was nearly crying as well.
She said we’d have to go out and find the shoe after dinner, the both of us, because I was supposed to have been looking after him.
We’d have to go out in the dark, through the gap, over the fields, into the muck and the trenches and the watchmen. She told us to wash our hands. I closed the bathroom door and I got Sinbad back for it; I gave him a dead leg.