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Jimmy Rabbitte of The Commitments returns in a new novel by Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle Longlisted for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Longlisted for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Jimmy Rabbitte is back.

The man who invented the Commitments back in the eighties is now forty-seven, with a loving wife, four kids ... and bowel cancer. He isn’t dying, he thinks, but he might be.

Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle. On his path through Dublin he meets two of the Commitments – Outspan, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever.

This warm, funny novel is about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life.

Includes the short story Jimmy Jazz


A visceral tragicomedy – as raw and as funny as anything [Doyle’s] written.

Olivia Cole

Remarkable, relevant and, surprisingly for a book that’s ostensibly about cancer, joyful.

Kevin Maher, The Times

Life-affirming and trimphant

Irish Post

A fond, comic treat.

Sunday Times

This is Doyle back in Barrytown and on top form, especially at the festival which closes a glorious book.

Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail

The Guts has life, and heart, and jokes.

Theo Tait, Guardian

The novel is probably the most contemplative that Doyle has written — as a meditation on the importance of family, it is at times almost unbearably moving.

Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times

Bright, jokey, wry and robust.

Patricia Craig, Independent

Unchanged is Doyle’s miraculous ability to serve up dialogue that fizzes with great, often quite rude jokes – but never at the expense of the emotions lying behind them.

Reader's Digest

As one does with old friends, you leap right back into the conversation as if you’ve never been apart... It’s got a bittersweet humour all its own.

Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star

The novel is rich in sentiment and episodes conveying sentiment.

Philip Marchand, National Post

Smart, sly, raucous, outrageous and tender The Guts will have you cheering for Jimmy and his family and if you’re not already a fan of Doyle’s writing will surely make you one.

Janet Somerville

The biggest joy is Doyle's deftness with dialogue.

Sue Conley, Herald.ie

In The Guts, Doyle returns once more to those themes he has always written about so singularly: love and family. Doyle has never written anything that is not about love and its transformational power.

Gabriel Byrne, Irish Times

A big-hearted novel of family life in which bad things ultimately happen to other people.

Anthony Cummins, Metro

As ever with Doyle, there’s wit, warmth and exuberant swearing found in even the toughest of situations.


Jimmy Rabbitte is 47 and potentially facing death, but ready to have a good time before doing it.

Sunday Business Post

What it has…is a melancholy wisdom, and some moments of heartbreaking poignancy.

Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday

Doyle conjures up a genuine tenderness, empathy and humanity when he writes about family life.

JP O'Malley, Observer

A warm, rude and occasionally tender novel about friendship, family and facing death.

Olaf Tyaransan, Hot Press

This is a bitter-sweet novel: a state-of-the-nation, state-of-the-age recession appraisal, and a loving portrayal of an imperfect, foul-mouthed, unstoppable, loving and lovable old bastard… [Doyle] packs more emotion into a simple ‘yeah’, or an ‘I know’ than many writers do into entire poetic speeches.


Think it's clear from The Guts that Roddy Doyle has written this one from the guts: it's frank and funny, it's about things that matter (love and family and friendship), and it crackles with feisty Dublin dialect and richly comic exchanges.

Reading Matters

Warm, funny novel.

Sunday World

Lachyrymachismo. The art of being weepy and tough at the same time. This book has it in spades. Or rather buckets.

Private Eye

The great thing about Roddy Doyle is his ear for the demotic… The Guts is a good read.

Melanie McDonagh, Evening Standard

Doyle explores post-boom Ireland with gusto.

Claire Coughlan, Sunday Independent, Ireland

Unsurprisingly, every bit as good as the original [The Commitments], Doyle is one of those rare writers who never disappoints

Socialist Unity

Wise, wistful and poignant.

Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

Long-awaited sequel.

Mark Perryman, Huffington Post

A life-affirming and triumphant return for Doyle. His book has just been named Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Irish Post

Doyle’s ear for dialogue is as acute as ever and there’s a lot of amusing asides about contemporary life in this revisiting of much-loved characters.

Irish Independent

A book full of Doyle's dark humour mixed with melancholy and wonderful moments of sheer madness.

Good Book Guide

The feat of The Guts is Doyle’s ability to create in Jimmy a character who hangs together even while so many of his certainties have collapsed. And to get a few good jokes in as well.

Mark Athitakis, Washington Post

The feat of The Guts is Doyle’s ability to create in Jimmy a character who hangs together even while so many of his certainties have collapsed. And to get a few good jokes in as well.

Mark Athitakis, Washington Post

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    September 1, 2014


    352 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    August 8, 2013

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • eBooks