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Roddy Doyle

Oh, Play That Thing

Oh, Play That Thing

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On the last page of A Star Called Henry; the first volume of the The Last Roundup trilogy; we left Henry Smart on the run from his Republican paymasters; the men for whom he had perpetrated murder and mayhem. He flees from Dublin to Liverpool and from thence to Ellis Island; New York; America. And this is where Oh; Play That Thing begins... It's 1924; and New York is the centre of the universe. Henry falls on his feet; as a handsome man with a sandwich board; and - this being Prohibition - behind his sandwich board a stash of hooch for the speakeasies of the Lower East Side. When he starts hiring kids to carry boards for him; he catches the attention of the mobsters who run the district and soon there are eyes on his back and men in the shadows. It is time to leave; for another America: Chicago. In Chicago there is no past waiting to jump on Henry. The place is wild; as new as he is; and newest of all is the music. Furious; wild; happy music played by a man with a trumpet and bleeding lips called Louis Armstrong. His music is everywhere; coming from every open door; every phonograph. But Armstrong is a prisoner of his colour; there are places a black man cannot go; things he cannot do. And the mob is in Chicago too: they own every stage - and they own the man up on the stage. Armstrong needs a man; a white man; and the man he chooses is Henry Smart. This is a novel of prodigious energy and invention. Its language and its rhythms are as breathtaking as the music it celebrates. It shows yet again that as a writer Roddy Doyle is unequalled in his vision; his ambition; his ability to surprise us with each new novel. It is nothing less than a triumph.


Historical Fiction





Vintage Publishing


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