Written entirely as dialogue, Two Pints by Roddy Doyle, is just like listening to two blokes at the bar while you are waiting for your pint of Guinness.
Ribbing each other, discussing the issues of the day, and of course setting the world to rights. Mostly irreverent, but just as often, this is underscored by something a little deeper.
Because of the format, Two Pints by Roddy Doyle is an odd little read, staccato blasts of writing (most conversations are no more than a small page long – sometimes shorter) make it ideal to pick up for quick time filler, less so to read in a longer stint, as even though it’s really short (around 90 pages) I found it quite difficult to get a ‘flow’ going.
Because it is, just like listening to conversations in a pub, it also suffers from the same strengths and problems that pastime does. Some of the conversations are hilarious, some of them are really nicely observed in the way only two people aided by alcohol can do – making a point or observation some books would take entire chapters to do half as well, but some of the conversations wash over you like meaningless waffle (and slightly drunk waffle at that).
Even though, it wasn’t quite the delight to read I thought it could be when I found it in the book shop, it was still worth picking up I feel.
Two men meet for a pint in a Dublin pub.
They chew the fat, set the world to rights, take the piss. They talk about their wives, their kids, their kids’ pets, their football teams and – this being Ireland in 2011-12 – about the euro, the crash, the presidential election, the Queen’s visit.
But these men are not parochial or small-minded; one of them knows where to find the missing Colonel Gaddafi (he’s working as a cleaner at Dublin Airport); they worry about Greek debt, the IMF and the bondholders (whatever they might be); in their fashion, they mourn the deaths of Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Davy Jones and Robin Gibb; and they ask each other the really important questions like ‘Would you ever let yourself be digitally enhanced?’
Inspired by a year’s worth of news, “Two Pints” distils the essence of Roddy Doyle’s comic genius. This book shares the concision of a collection of poems, and the timing of a virtuoso comedian.