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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

A brilliantly warm, witty and moving portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heart-rending short stories

Love and marriage. Children and family. Death and grief. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone.

In these ten, beautifully moving short stories mostly written over the last year, Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle paints a collective portrait of our strange times. A man abroad wanders the stag-and-hen-strewn streets of Newcastle, as news of the virus at home asks him to question his next move. An exhausted nurse struggles to let go, having lost a much-loved patient in isolation. A middle-aged son, barred from his mother’s funeral, wakes to an oncoming hangover of regret.

Told with Doyle’s signature warmth, wit and extraordinary eye for the richness that underpins the quiet of our lives, Life Without Children cuts to the heart of how we are all navigating loss, loneliness, and the shifting of history underneath our feet.

© Roddy Doyle 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • A quietly devastating collection of short stories that brilliantly portrays the pervasive sense of hopelessness that immobilised us during the dog days of Covid… Silver linings have been hard to find lately, but in Life Without Children Doyle has given us just that

    Sunday Times
  • [A] gem of a collection… Roddy Doyle’s greatest gift has always been for dialogue. He can command the full range of Irish voices and registers, but he has lately put his gifts to use in painting a picture of characters in…their “third age”.

    Daily Telegraph
  • Moving…[and] beautiful in its brevity.

    Daily Mail
  • Quietly devastating… Doyle’s clipped, plain dialogue shivers with emotion.

    Financial Times
  • Life Without Children…displays Doyle’s remarkable talent for conveying the strongest of emotions in the simplest of words and the shortest of sentences… It bristles with quietly sharp insights into the shape of a human life.

    Reader's Digest

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