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The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

About the Book

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

Paula Spencer is the narrator and unlikely heroine of Roddy Doyle's fifth novel, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors. The mother of four children, she lives in a working-class suburb of Dublin. She is also a battered wife and an alcoholic. Paula's husband, Charlo, has been killed while escaping the scene of a crime he committed. Though Paula threw him out a couple of years ago, she recalls their early times together, filled with joy and lust. She remembers her rebellious adolescence, boys she dated and fantasized about, family outings, and summers at the sea, and she reflects on the events in her life that brought her to where she is today.

Doyle's portrait of a working-class woman in contemporary Ireland illuminates many of the problems facing that country's working poor, yet Paula is a wonderfully unique character—honest about her feelings, fearless in her efforts to protect her family, subject to fits of anger and depression that threaten to undo all that she has accomplished. Doyle takes his time revealing Paula to us. This account of her life is not chronological but spiraling, driven by memory and recurring images that spark these memories. Roddy Doyle's lean prose and his uncanny ear for dialogue brilliantly offset the drama that unfolds as Paula tells her story. It is this restraint that makes his writing so compelling, that allows us to accept, understand, and champion Paula in her struggle to reclaim her dignity.

Roddy Doyle jokingly acknowledges that he might have titled the novel Paula Spencer Boo Hoo Hoo. However, there is no doubt that he has reached a new level of mastery in this deceptively complex portrait of a woman and a family in trouble.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
by Roddy Doyle

  • Publication Date: January 1, 1997
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0140255125
  • ISBN-13: 9780140255126