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Bullfighting: Stories

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  656 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
"[No one] can match Doyle for the fluency with which he tacks back and forth between the hilarious and the heartbreaking." --"The New York Times Book Review"
Roddy Doyle has won acclaim for his wry wit, his uncanny ear, and his remarkable ability to fully capture the voices and hearts of his characters. "Bullfighting," his second collection of stories, offers a series of b
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ebook, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,136)
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Glenn Sumi
May 13, 2016 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 19, 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.
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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Jale
Jan 14, 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.
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.
David
Apr 13, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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John Vanderslice
Aug 03, 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
Elly Wendy
Oct 26, 2015 Elly Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 08, 2015 meelad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin
Feb 18, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review and more at http://bookserinread.blogspot.ca/

I have this title wrong on my blog. I thought it was called Bull Fighter.

This is a collection of short stories. This made it easier for me to read. I read a few, took a break, and then got back to it.

The theme was mostly the same through all of the stories. Each one was a different story about a man. Usually an older man (50 plus, maybe). Most times they remembered their pasts, sometimes stayed in the present, and occasionally looked to
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Emily
Dec 07, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
despite this book feeling like roddy doyle's version of roth's 'everyman' - a personal suspicion that tried its best to turn me against it utterly - i fell completely in love with at least one line from every story. i simply haven't reached the age or stage of life when midlife crises by a series of 40-something fathers can bowl me over wholesale. but this guy is a plain splendid writer - a genius of quotidian charm, classy vernacular and the nonchalantly devastating.

the story 'animals' squeeze
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Shannon
Jan 30, 2015 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first, reading from the perspective of characters who are middle-aged or older men seemed odd. On the other hand, don't we read books to gain new perspectives? And the characters' dialogic thoughts and actual dialogues sucked me in and helped me consider their experiences. I laughed at least 10 times while reading these stories that cover the mundane to the absurd.

I'm curious about Doyle's children's books. He first drew me in to his emotional journey of the Woman who Walks into Doors in 200
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Soho_black
Feb 21, 2015 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
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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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
Tony
Jun 02, 2011 Tony rated it liked it
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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Alexander Van Leadam
Bittersweet, rather dull and flat truthful (or fanciful but plausible) stories on middle-aged Irish men. Readable but not memorable, probably because of the subjects and the striking lack of powerful conclusions, they reveal quite a lot about Ireland's recent history of depression, boom and depression again (always looming in the background). They also describe well the fuzziness and compromise of middle age but they don't show Doyle as a master of the short story.
Sheila
Dec 30, 2014 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great observation, great writing. This is not my usual reading matter. I was expecting that sort of book so popular in France, of middle-aged men whingeing about their despairing life, but this is a varied collection of characters. Yes some are despairing, some hopeful,some just plodding on with their lot. Lots of humour, and some very touching moments. I liked this much better than Joyce's Dubliners, which was unrelieved tedium.
Becky
May 15, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roddy Doyle creates fabulous characters and wonderful dialogue. This is a series of short stories about middle-aged men in Dublin. The stories from men alone, men dealing with parents aging and cancer, men and their friends, or with their wives, in good marriages and bad. I did this as an audiobook, and the narration with the Dublin accents was brilliant.
Louise
Feb 02, 2014 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprising for stars, as usually I don't enjoy short stories.
But these were good, ok some of them went nowhere, but they felt very real, and also a lot of feeling of powerless...
I really related to the rat one,the sense of invasion to your home...
I also liked the almost facelessness of the characters, and who they are talking about, no huge descriptions,not always a name.
Cracking job Doyle.
Brian Edgar
Jul 27, 2015 Brian Edgar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These stories about the lives of Dublin men as they cope with every day changes is, for me, easy to identify with and close to the bone. He has a terse style and the voices and doings of his characters ring true. I will mark this as a book to read again (actually I listened to an audiotape with the lovely Dublin accent.
Elettra
Jan 31, 2016 Elettra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ancora una volta Roddy Doyle non si è smentito. Per me è uno di quei rari autori da lista della spesa, se anche la pubblicassero, riuscirei a farmela piacere.
Adoro il modo in cui scrive i monologhi interni e non riesco ancora a decidere se i dialoghi li scrive ugualmente bene o ancora meglio.
Consigliato: sì!
Lurana
Jun 30, 2012 Lurana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved his writing, and I completely enjoyed these short stories. The palette is quite small. Most of the stories involve a middle-aged Irish man, kids growing up, somewhat on the rocks with the wife, newly contemplating mortality. But they are still RICH with life, because Doyle is so good at the small details. He is best at inner thoughts, and what I noticed in these stories is that he uniquely conveys the way even our inner thoughts are not necessarily fathomable to us. That we d ...more
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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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