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Bullfighting

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  730 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
The Man Booker Prize-winning author takes the pulse of modern Ireland with a masterful new collection of stories.

Roddy Doyle has earned a devoted following for his wry wit, his uncanny ear, and his ability to fully capture the hearts of his characters. Bullfighting, his second collection of stories, offers a series of bittersweet takes on men and middle-age, revealing a
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Vintage Canada
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Glenn Sumi
May 09, 2014 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Roddy Doyle sure knows what goes on in the minds of straight, white 40-something Dublin men, because they're the protagonists in each one of the 13 stories in Bullfighting.

Approaching midlife, Doyle's men are slowing down, taking stock, facing mortality, yet not going down without a fight – or at least a rant and/or a jovial, valedictory pint or two with their mates. The jokey dialogue and stream of consciousness thoughts feel authentic, but I wish there were more variety. After a while, the cha
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Tony
Jul 13, 2013 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Various middle-aged to older Irish men populate and narrate this collection of short stories. The first few, in chronological order, were mostly whining husbands trapped in a plotless meandering. The stories got much better with Funerals, about a man taking his elderly parents to funerals once or twice a week. By the next one, Blood, I was hooked. Our protagonist there is in the cinema with his wife:

He'd fallen asleep during Coppola's Dracula. One minute his wife was screaming grabbing his knee;
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Frank
Jul 19, 2011 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-authors
Roddy Doyle and I have an interesting relationship (though he doesn’t know it, of course). We’re the same age, plus-or-minus eighteen-months, were born sixty-miles or so apart. But I left Ireland at a very tender age, and he didn’t. I liked The Commitments when I first read it, but when Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha came out, I realised that Doyle had lived the life I might have done, had things been different. The setting was not the one I knew from my youth, nor the accents and slang, but I underst ...more
Felicity
This is one of those ratings where I am perhaps shortchanging the author. Really, Doyle perhaps deserves a four...his writing far surpasses that of many other authors, but I prefer his novels to his short stories, and well, while this collection of short stories is good, it's not the best of Roddy Doyle that I have read.

There is something about the way Roddy Doyle writes that is just uniquely Roddy Doyle. You could pick up any one of these stories without his name attached to it, and know "This
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Bob
Jul 01, 2011 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can breeze through this collection of Roddy Doyle short stories, but why not take your time with each and savor the flavor of Dublin today.

I love how Doyle has matured in his subject matter but kept his writing style. You can almost imagine the boys from "The Commitments" are grown up and facing the challenges of middle-age and beyond.

"Bullfighting" has some funny, funny dialogue between husbands and wives and the kind of banter between pals that will make you think Doyle sat at a bar record
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Melki
A satisfying collection of short stories, all of which deal with the middle-aged male. Fears of aging and death are prominently featured. Some of the tales were downright touching as older fathers recalled happier times with much younger children. Sentimental without being sappy, everything is laced with Doyle's quirky sense of humor.
Daniel Kukwa
A collection of stories about middle-aged men & their lot in life, it contains everything from the sublime to the ridiculous to the decidedly odd. Some stories will hit you full in the face, while others will leave you cold...but the one constant is Roddy Doyle's prose style, which holds everything together with considerable strength.
Sam Quixote
The main characters in these short stories by the brilliant Roddy Doyle all have a similar trait to them - they are all middle aged or older and looking back on their lives. Their lives are what most peoples' are: marriage, a career, raising children, coping with losing them when they leave, retirement, the oncoming reality of death.

In "Sleep" an old man stares at his sleeping wife, reflecting on his life, their marriage their family, and an incident years ago when their young son almost died o
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Paul Jellinek
Oct 23, 2012 Paul Jellinek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite living writers in any language. Period. Maybe if the Nobel Prize crowd reads these new stories, they will finally see the light. Doyle digs deeper into the inner world of his fellow human beings than anyone I can think of since James Joyce in Ulysses--except that, much as I revere Joyce (tremendously!), Doyle is about a thousand times more accessible than Joyce ever is in Ulysses. And that is by no means a defect. The only problem is that I suspect Doyle's accessibility has le ...more
Anne
Jul 20, 2012 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Bullfighting" is a sad book of stories about sad middle-aged men trying to convince themselves that they are not defeated. But, mostly they are defeated despite Doyle's attempts to end each story at a point of uplift or simple acceptance of what is. But these endings are too quick, too facile. Yet, these stories are worth reading because of Doyle's voice and his unique way of capturing the everyday Irish essence. Perhaps in these stories he is contemplating his own "middle" middle age, and expl ...more
Reins Grants
Nov 30, 2013 Reins Grants rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each in a different way these stories reflect the inner complexity (and turmoil) of men going through aging, estrangement and other tribulations.
IMHO, this is a must read for any man approaching 40, to be prepared (or at least not surprised) by the slow but inevitable insecurities creeping inside.
P.S. I discovered Roddy Doyle when I read his story "Bullfighting" in New Yorker. The story shocked me with its simple form, yet insightful depiction of inner world of a man whose kids have grown up an
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Bettie☯


Made for 4 Extra. Short stories by the Irish novelist, read by Simon Delaney.

Abandoned just one story short of the full package because I couldn't take anymore 'down'. Adore Slavic Dark, loathe Gaelic bleating-on and this bleated-on through a whole load of ugleh for ugleh's sake.

4* - The Commitments
CR - Bullfighting
3* - Yeats Is Dead (one of the sections)
Jale
Jan 10, 2016 Jale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sıradan yaşamlarımızın sıradan can sıkıntılarının anlatıldığı 13 öyküden oluşuyor. Bol bol sıkışmışlık duygusu. Roddy Doyle'un Man Booker ödülü sahibi olduğu düşünüldüğünde bu kitap tanışmak için pek de iyi sayılmaz.
Gardenia Plant
This started well, but halfway through I lost the steam to continue... There are only so many stories I can read about boring Irish men suffering mid-life crises...
Alex
Jun 16, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Raymond Carver were Irish, had kids, and drank a tetch less, he might have written stories like these.
Steve
Mar 08, 2017 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another book I picked up solely on title alone, after having several arguments online with some who were hellbent on proving the righteousness of their point, at the cost of their integrity. But locked in their tunnel vision, I found ways to sidestep the full fury of their argument, much like a bullfighter. I find it disheartening to know someone is a teacher, or a father, and yet can shed their training and morals so quickly and in such an adolescent manner, (and maybe they are a public figure) ...more
Günter
Nov 05, 2016 Günter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you (male) want to be prepared for or reflect on midlife crises this book is a perfect selection.
Possibly also if you (female) want to understand your man. ;-)
Karen
Jun 11, 2017 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quick read but nothing particularly gripping. Bland short stories
Paddy
May 19, 2017 Paddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read.
Soho_Black
Dec 31, 2014 Soho_Black rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
I've often wondered what goes through an author's mind the next time they sit down to write after winning a major literary prize. Does it put undue pressure on an author, thinking that they will have to write something equally as good or better next time around? Some writers can wilt under the pressure and future offerings are derided by critics as 'not as good as (insert title here)'. But some thrive under the weight of expectation and continue to write wonderful stories. 1993 Booker Prize winn ...more
Sam Quixote
The main characters in these short stories by the brilliant Roddy Doyle all have a similar trait to them - they are all middle aged or older and looking back on their lives. Their lives are what most peoples' are: marriage, a career, raising children, coping with losing them when they leave, retirement, the oncoming reality of death.

In "Sleep" an old man stares at his sleeping wife, reflecting on his life, their marriage their family, and an incident years ago when their young son almost died o
...more
Chris
Feb 26, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think my favourite short story in this collection is the one about a father reminiscing about all the pets his family has had. This collection isn't as great as some of his other works featuring older married men (The Snapper, The Van), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Kyle
Sep 09, 2016 Kyle rated it really liked it
I'm a big Doyle fan. His style is unique, his characters relatable and every time I finish one of his books I find myself on the brink of booking a flight out to Ireland. Though I'd seen this book come out a few years ago, I'd never picked it up for some reason. Now I wish I had read it earlier.

Doyle doesn't really bring anything new to this collection. We continue to see middle-aged men struggling with family, the recession and getting old. Actually, the stories reminded me quite a bit of The V
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John Vanderslice
Jul 26, 2015 John Vanderslice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not every story in this collection is great, but they're all effortless. Doyle shows why he's the eminent profiler of modern Dublin and contemporary Irish life. A lot of these stories are dialogue driven, and it's a pleasure to watch Doyle form conversations that seem utterly real yet are prime examples of subtlety and how to push characterization forward. No surprise that Doyle has written several plays in his career. He just has the knack. It's also a pleasure to see a really good writer craft ...more
David
Apr 09, 2016 David rated it it was amazing
Is there anything worse than whiney, moaning, grumpy middle-aged men?
Of course there isn't.
I should know, I am one. So why would you want to read a short story collection narrated by various middle-aged men with all their MAM issues, their narcissistic hypochondria, their nostalgia for the good old days and 'real' music, their offended sense of entitlement, their sex-obsession? Ordinarily everyone would give such a book a wide berth, but this book is written by the mighty Roddy Doyle. And theref
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Katy Brandes
Roddy Doyle is one of my favorite authors. I must start my review with that statement, because I mean no disrespect to his talent with this review. He is amazing; however, his short stories just don't thrill me. Maybe I just simply enjoy the unveiling of the longer story lines in his novels. His turns of phrase after nevertheless hilarious.

Contrary to what I've read other reviewers say, I liked "Bull Fighting" the best in this grouping. Perhaps the whole book of stories doesn't adequately fit u
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Tony
Doyle, Roddy. BULLFIGHTING. (2011). ***.
I’ve followed Doyle’s writing from his early days with “The Committments,” “The Van,” and his Booker Prize winning “Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha,” and was always pleased with the experience. This book, his latest collection of short stories was a disappointment. There are thirteen short stories here that all feature a man of middle age. He’s at the point in life where he thinks as much (or more) about the past than the present and future combined. He has made
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Elly Wendy
Oct 25, 2015 Elly Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5* Delightful and brilliant! Funny as heck and touching too. Many times I had tears in my eyes as a story seemed to hit upon one incident or another from my own family's past. How do authors do that?
I laughed during "The Slave" and enjoyed it so much I immediately played it again -- and laughed even harder.
Although I sometimes had to replay parts to understand, the reading in Irish accents (the Blackstone Audio version narrated by Lorcan Cranitch) is priceless. This is one that would not work fo
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meelad
Jun 07, 2015 meelad rated it really liked it
The stories were mostly good, with a couple of brilliant ones ('Blood' I liked the most). They only felt a little repetitious, and I'm not sure it's down to the fact I had already read many of them in The New Yorker in recent years, or because of their subject matter, which is typically about a middle-aged man trying to cope with consequences of himself and his marriage getting old. They have different and inventive ways in confronting the problem, but all try to do the respectable thing, which ...more
Sally
Aug 11, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I snatched this collection of short stories from the local library 'new' shelf, late on a Saturday afternoon. No list and no time. I'd read 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha' years ago and can't remember it, but the Booker Prize bit on the front cover grabbed my attention.
These are stories of Irish men from their forties and older and are all internal dialogues marking the passages of men who are probably indistinguishable from a million others in Ireland, but I was spell bound. Perhaps because I really do
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Why 'Bullfighting'? 1 3 May 24, 2014 03:30PM  
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Roddy Doyle (Irish: Ruaidhrí Ó Dúill) is an Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter. Several of his books have been made into successful films, beginning with The Commitments in 1991. He won the Booker Prize in 1993.

Doyle grew up in Kilbarrack, Dublin. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from University College, Dublin. He spent several years as an English and geography teacher before becoming
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“It was frightening, though, how little time you got. You only became yourself when you were twenty-three or twenty-four. A few years later, you had an old man's chest hair. It wasn't worth it.” 4 likes
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