Digging into the darkness of the young male psyche: Here Are the Young Men

Rob Doyle’s book is a rough but powerful debut, maybe the first novel since Kevin Power’s ‘Bad Day in Blackrock’ to interrogate the dark side of the young Irish male’s psyche

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

A Clockwork Orange, Less Than Zero, Trainspotting, Fight Club: delinquent fiction warrants a bookshelf of its own. Rob Doyle’s debut novel, Here Are the Young Men, merits special attention because its teenage wasteland is set not in London, Glasgow or the Bronx but in the Dart-line spine of boom-time Dublin.

The book’s main protagonists, Matthew, Rez and Kearney, are lost boys run amok on Pleasure Island. They have no adult role models bar old punks and drunks. They gorge on drugs, booze, video games, snuff films and hard-core porn. In their eyes 9/11 was an atrocity exhibition, Columbine a black comedy, the Iraq War cathode eye candy. They are sick with self-loathing, given to nihilistic acts of violence, prey to suicidal impulses.

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