Ten years on from THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO DOORS, Roddy Doyle returns to one of his greatest characters, PAULA SPENCER
When we first met Paula Spencer – in THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO DOORS – she was thirty-nine, recently widowed, an alcoholic struggling to hold her family together.
PAULA SPENCER begins on the eve of Paula's forty-eighth birthday. She hasn't had a drink for four months and five days. Her youngest children, Jack and Leanne, are still living with her. They're grand kids, but she worries about Leanne.
Paula still works as a cleaner, but all the others doing the job now seem to come from Eastern Europe, and the checkout girls in the supermarket are Nigerian. You can get a cappuccino in the café, and her sister Carmel is thinking of buying a holiday home in Bulgaria. Paula's got four grandchildren now; two of them are called Marcus and Sapphire.
Reviewing THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO DOORS, Mary Gordon wrote: 'It is the triumph of this novel that Mr Doyle – entirely without condescension – shows the inner life of this battered house-cleaner to be the same stuff as that of the heroes of the great novels of Europe.' Her words hold true for this new novel. PAULA SPENCER is brave, tenacious and very funny. The novel that bears her name is another triumph for Roddy Doyle.
“[A] marvellous novel”
Carmen Callil, Financial Times
“Doyle has created a little masterwork, a gem of persuasive realism”
Tom Adair, Scotland on Sunday
“An intoxicating sequel...a phenomenally rewarding read”
Euan Ferguson, Observer
“Paula is a triumphantly original character, and her gently anarchic sense of humour, her ruthless honesty and the bursting sense of fun that permeates the book scotch any hint of sentimentalism. Doyle constructs his set-pieces and orders the narrative with a craft so unobtrustively elegant and clever that it demands a second reading. This is a splendid piece of work”
Independent on Sunday
“[A] magnificent achievement”
“Doyle's writing is as sharp as ever. Sentences snap out from the page, some so short they only contain one word... Paula Spencer has come into her own and Roddy Doyle has gained a comfortable and wholly convincing access into the female mind”
“This is a magnificent novel...not once does Doyle offer any sentimental cop-out or wallow in bleakness...It's a disciplined piece of writing, full of humour and immense empathy - and what more can you ask than that?”
“There is an intense pleasure in the reading of this book”
Claudia Fitzherbert, Telegraph
“A complex and intricate portrait of an unlikely, yet likable, heroine”
Calum Macdonald, The Herald