Roddy Doyle has written THE quintessential Irish novel. And I don’t mean a dark, depressing, bleak Irish novel. This is an Irish novel that is cheeky, defiant, lovable and feisty. You can’t help reading this with a sly grin on your face. Henry Smart fought in 1916 for a republic he didn’t care about either way. But those took power thought him too dangerous to keep around and he had to flee to America. Now in his seventies, and back in Ireland, his legend is reignited by a new wave republicanism in a new war which is more about terror and revenge than it is about freedom and independence. It’s going to be hard to find a novel better than this in 2010.