Life Without Children by Roddy Doyle: Lockdown revisited

Review: Stories are masterful, funny, moving, tragic, familiar - a little too familiar

Life Without Children is Roddy Doyle’s new collection of stories

Life Without Children is Roddy Doyle’s new collection of stories

Literary fiction ought to reflect the way we live now: that’s a thing writers like to say. No doubt during the first lockdown of 2020, as they realised they were seeing history form in the raw, a large portion of the world’s writers would have considered the tricky mesh of opportunity and risk that writing about their times presented. The material was there and the stakes were high. So was the potential for universal resonance.

(There was even a well-covered crisis in which writers and publishing industry execs wondered whether to suspend projects set in non-Covid-19 conditions, fearing they would alienate the reader.) Even so, things were changing at such a pace that an article written one month could be out of date the next. Amplify this for books arriving a whole publishing cycle in the future, from composition to eventual release. And by then, if the pandemic was still with us, would readers still have an appetite to see books reflect the way they had lived for so long, without this feeling like a busman’s holiday?

The Irish Times
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