Jonathan Lee

Small Mercies

The Guts

By

Jonathan Cape 327pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

In 2004, Roddy Doyle was asked whether he’d ever consider writing a sequel to The Commitments. ‘I’ve been asked to,’ Doyle responded, ‘and it isn’t in any way a temptation … I think it would just be, from the first frame, overly sentimental.’

Well, it’s a fool who tries to hold a fiction writer to his promises. In The Guts, Jimmy Rabbitte is back. At 47, his job is ‘finding old bands’ and finding the people who’ll buy ‘their resurrected singles and albums’. His pet name for the enterprise is ‘Shiterock.com’, but with a loving wife and four attentive kids, middle age seems to be running on with hardly a duff note played. There’s only one hitch: Jimmy has bowel cancer. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,