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La camioneta (The Barrytown Trilogy #3)

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  4,371 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr. is unemployed, spending his days alone and miserable. When his best friend, Bimbo, also gets laid off, they keep by being miserable together. Things seem to look up when they buy a decrepit fish-and-chip van and go into business, selling cheap grub to the drunk and the hungry--and keeping one step ahead of the environmental health officers.
Paperback, 392 pages
Published 1996 by Alfaguara (first published 1991)
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Allan
This is the third in the Barrytown Trilogy, the first of which made Roddy Doyle into a household name as an author in the late 80s.

The main character in the debut, Jimmy Jr, again takes a background role, as does the main focus of The Snapper, sister Sharon, this novel focusing primarily on Jimmy Sr and his relationships with family members and his friend Bimbo, as well as on his own sense of identity and self worth. Doyle tackles some heavy themes in the book, but does so through a backdrop of
...more
Nancy Oakes
Sweet Jaysis, this was a fine book! In fact, over the course of the last week or two, I've managed to finish all three fine books of Roddy Doyle's original Barrytown Trilogy, in preparation for reading The Guts, which just came out this year. One big thing about these novels that kept me glued to their pages was how the major dilemmas in their lives prompted the characters to move beyond their current troubles, to have faith in and to take advantage of what ever possibilities might present thems ...more
Darren Sant
Roddy Doyle is best known for being the author of The Commitments which was made into a smash hit film. When I started reading The Van I expected the same kind of larger than life characters as The Commitments and I wasn't disappointed.
Jimmy Senior is unemployed and depressed. He spends his time with his granddaughter trying to fill the endless days. He tries his best to make light of his situation but his anger often gets the better of him.
This is where we find ourselves at the start of the nov
...more
Susan
It's difficult to separate The Van from the two other novels (The Commitments, The Snapper), in Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy, and it's not just because I read the all-in-one edition. Doyle's stories of a working-class family in the fictional Dublin district of Barrytown could easily have been combined into one novel. And how I'll miss the Rabbitte family, immortalized in the 1991 film version of The Commitments! They make little setbacks like unwed pregnancy and the dole seem trivial, to be met sho ...more
Barbara
This book was recommended by someone in my bookclub and read by the group. I would not have otherwise read it. Our book club members had different reactions to the book. Some members found it funny - others did not. Some were bothered by the vulgar language - others were not bothered by it. In my opinion, it's not a good choice for a book club with diverse members since it doesn't appeal to everyone. I do see on Goodreads that many people LOVED the book. Also, some members of my book club enjoye ...more
Dickydavis
Jimmy Sr is one of the most likable anti-heroes in literary history. Not the brightest, not the cleanest, not the most moral, but ultimately a good man at his heart, and the resulting warmth in this story of two men trying to regain their dignity and make a few bob at the same time had me smiling all the way through. If you ever had any affection for your Dad, you'll see him in Jimmy Sr.
Michelle
Oh Roddy, Gawd love ye', thank you for sharing your talents with the world. Once again Roddy Doyle brings us a book full of laughter and tears.

I love an author that can bring you out of the blues and that is what Roddy does everytime. His characters are flawed, real and loveable and his scenarios are everyday life in Ireland.

In this book Jimmy Sr is out of work so his mate Bimbo, also recently retrenched, buys a fish and chip van and the boys set out as entrepreneurs. There's stress, harassmen
...more
Benjamin
Further adventures of the Rabbitte's. It's the 3rd in Doyle's "The Barrytown Trilogy," but I skipped the first one - The Commitments. Maybe I'll read that later, but probably not.
Jesse
Another one of my favorites by this author. Nothing too exciting, just a really good story. This stars the same family that is in 'The Commitments' and 'The Snapper'.
A
The Van is not Roddy Doyle's best effort in my humble opinion. Its strength is in its characters, which Doyle nails. Its plot and the evolution of the story really are very weak though. The plot - man is out of work, best friend gets fired too, they buy old Fish and Chips van and start a business; friends don't make great business partners; the end. For all intents and purposes you have just read The Van. Sorry didn't mark this as a spoiler, but since the plot is so weak it doesn't really matter ...more
Erin
The Van is another slice of life novel from Roddy Doyle about working class families in a downtrodden suburb of Dublin. Father Jimmy Sr. has been laid off and is living off the dole, and he spends his days in a mixture of denial and depression. When his best friend Bimbo also gets laid off, the two of them buoy each other during their newfound free time. Then Bimbo buys a "chipper van," or a food truck in American parlance, and he and Jimmy start making money again. Things start to sour when Bim ...more
Sandra
Another Roddy Doyle and that one is a Doyle classic. The Rabbitte-Family is the charming and chaotic hub of Doyle's trilogy. The Van is the last book in the Barrytown Trilogy, including also The Commitments and The Snapper.

Being unemployed for some time now, Jimmy Sr. and his best friend Bimbo take the fish by its fin and start their own business. A greasy, smelly and broken van builds the base of their plunge into entrepreneurship. A Dublienese version of a food truck. ”McDonalds can go an' fuc
...more
Carol
This short, great novel takes place in working-class Ireland in 1990. The story is simple and understated. Jimmy Rabitte is in his forties and recently unemployed. When his best friend Bimbo Reeves is also laid off, they go into business running a fish and chips van, selling cheap food outside of bars, soccer matches, and at the beach. Doyle has an affectionate sense of humor about his characters and achieves a very warm realism. I especially liked the fact that Doyle is not afraid to give Jimmy ...more
Michael
This ironic comedy of working class residents of Dublin has its charms, but it wears a little thin to me halfway through. Jimmy Rabbitte is laid off, and it�s a bit of a stretch to cover rounds of pints with his friends. When the same fate befalls his friend Bimbo, they together hatch a plan to refurbish an old van to make a mobile fish-and-chips business in time for the world soccer cup playoffs. The story renders the most pleasure as they struggle toward success against all odds and the low ex ...more
Michael
Right after this vook was made in toa mocvie, O decoded tjay tje most iomportant tjhind abnout teradng was jhacing the avilirty rto rad./ After tjayt tinme, it seemed rtallt relevamt tro make suire wjhile reading tou jad the right approacj to reading, for ecample, wjhile rteadiong bnuy rtoueself, ir is nor alwaus the nesrt idea to read opuir lous, nbuir sometimes tjhe onlt wat to oreallt apprecoate tje woromtg of somegosduy lik,e roddu dpotyl;e is to rad opit loudf. tje vfanm os a classioc excsa ...more
Daryl
The third book of Doyle's Barrytown trilogy was my least favorite, and my least favorite of any of Doyle's novels. The focus here shifts from the kids to the father. He and a friend buy a chipper van -- a food van that sells chips, burgers, and fish -- and go into business for themselves. It didn't hold my interest, though there are some great bits throughout. There's a lot of discussion of soccer and soccer matches, which totally lost me. It's a bit more serious and depressing than the other Ba ...more
Alison Anderson
Wasn't 100% sure on this one - took quite a while to get into it, but then was more gripping as time went on, several of our bookgroup thought it was quite funny but I found the humour to be bittersweet, ie fundamentally sad as Jimmy Rabbitte has a sad, unfulfilled life, constantly struggling with poverty. The constant swearing took some getting used to, but was easier if imagined in an Irish accent ( book is set in Ireland) - the sad steady deterioration of his friendship with Bimbo after start ...more
Seanie Mcnamara
The best of the Barrytown trilogy books and the weakest of the movies. Brilliant book set around the glorious summer of the Italia 90 World Cup. Very nostalgic and humourous tale.
Carl Williams
The final chapter of this trilogy explored the father of the Rabbitte clan, Jimmy Sr. After losing his job, and struggling to make ends meet he and a friend open up a street van, selling food when the pubs close, after games, etc. As often happens with dreams, and plans with friends, a number of issues develop. Jimmy Sr. takes advantage of the public library, though there are things he wants to use but doesn't know if there is a charge so goes without rather than asking and potentially seeming s ...more
Hans
(with apologies to WCW)

so much depends
upon

a white chipper
van

glazed with hot
oil

outside the dark
local
---
In this bittersweet conclusion to the Barrytown books, Doyle's storytelling shines. Like the first two books, he allows the voice of the characters to carry each scene while filling in the surrounding elements.

Through the three books, you can't help but fall for the whole Rabbitte family, especially as the complexity of their humanity show through. For those not ready to say goodbye after this
...more
Michael
Anyone who's Irish probably loves this book. Anyone with Irish relatives or spends a lot of time with Irish folks, probably love this book. It's full of hilarious stories that are told in such a way that if you're not keen on how they're being told you might miss the joke. I recommend it to anyone that fits the bill above.

That being said, the story lags quite a bit. It doesn't really have a story arc, and the ending is wrapped up in just about 30 pages. By 'wrapped up', it's a fairly obvious con
...more
Mike
I remember disliking the film version (also written by Roddy Doyle), but the book is terrific - fun and fast-paced with a sure grasp on its characters.
Jimmie
Even though I really enjoyed the first two books in "The Barrytown Trilogy," I had to check this book out of the library five times before I actually read it. I'm glad I finally did! It's a hilarious and touching and sweet story about a man trying to make himself relevant when his gut is telling him he's lost past his Use By date. It's easily the best in the trilogy.

Like his other books, it's written in an incredibly thick Irish accent. Doyle also refuses to use quotation marks in his dialogue-h
...more
Joy
What the what? I am reading a book about a chipper van?! And enjoying it? This is actually a moving story of friendship. I had really mixed feelings about the ending and would be curious to know what others thought...
Joan Fallon
Amusing and bitter sweet at the same time. Worth reading if you like Ireland and Irish literature
Sharon Bakar
Really enjoyed The Guts - poignant and laugh-aloud funny, and am so glad Doyle picked up his characters from The Barrytown Trilogy again. Few authors write dialogue this well.
Leigh Roberts
as for commitments - however, unlike the commitments, the film is poor
Caeul
When you acknowledge that it was a well written book, yet hated the story, do you give it a four-five star because it was a legitimately good book, or a one-two star because you are so relieved it's over and you will never read a book like that again, ever?

Since I'm no expert critic and my judgement on someone's writing style has no power whatsoever, I am rating this book on how I felt after finishing it.
Basically, it's the 'It's not you, it's me' excuse.

I read books to escape the real world,
...more
Michele
Once you got used to the accent it read very well. Good for a laugh.
Cliona
Happy memories of reading this in 1992!
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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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More about Roddy Doyle...

Other Books in the Series

The Barrytown Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Commitments
  • The Snapper (The Barrytown Trilogy, #2)
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha The Commitments The Woman Who Walked Into Doors A Star Called Henry The Snapper (The Barrytown Trilogy, #2)

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“-I love yeh, son, said Jimmy Sr.
He could say it and no one could hear him, except young Jimmy, because of the singing and roaring and breaking glasses.
-I think you’re fuckin’ great, said Jimmy Sr.
-Ah fuck off, will yeh, said Jimmy Jr. -Packie saved the fuckin’ penalty, not me.
But he liked what he’d heard, Jimmy Sr could tell that. He gave Jimmy Sr a dig in the stomach.
-You’re not a bad oul’ cunt yourself, he said.”
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