By Troy Patterson
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:00 AM EDT
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Oh, Play That Thing

C+
type
  • Book
genre

Flourishing an ardor for black music familiar since his 1987 debut, The Commitments, and a sidewalk lyricism common to Irish writers with Joycean aspirations, Doyle produces an almost lively slab of hokum in Oh, Play That Thing. In 1924, the hustling Dubliner Henry Smart — star of Doyle’s 1999 novel A Star Called Henry — arrives in an America ”bigger than the states, bigger than the world. America was everything possible.” Initial bounces through the worlds of sandwich-board advertising and bootlegging lead our hero to adventures that would embarrass Zelig: ”I stayed right beside Louis Armstrong. I stuck to him, and it began to make sense. I knew why I was there.” Why? Because in the absence of a genuine story, phony history must suffice.

Oh, Play That Thing

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Roddy Doyle
publisher
  • Viking

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