The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

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It might do, but not necessarily. The new novel sees Doyle writing in a different register. The voices here are largely internal ones. The demotic fluency of his Barrytown trilogy The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van , the pure joy of its joking, the headlong charge of its narrative has here been replaced by a reflexive, hesitant, flattened monologue. Doyle has always been a great ventriloquist and his voice-throwing is taken to its limits for Paula Spencer: This change is in part a result of the fact that The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is the first book Doyle has completed since he resigned from his teaching job a couple of years ago 'I did it for 14 years, loved it for 11, liked it for one, tolerated it for one, hated it for one.

I'd never go back'. As a result he now has more time to write intensively. But this time I wrote a page and then wrote over and over it again and again and again. By adding some details and taking away others you begin to get a sense that it is real because it is so densely packed with plausible mundane observation. The authenticity comes by slow degrees. Roddy Doyle has always worked hard for his success, but he has had, by any standards, a remarkable decade: I was living on my own, quite all right, in one room. If you'd have told me that ten years later I would have written five novels, been involved in three films and a television series, and had two children, I'd've said you'd been reading too much of the science fiction.

The paintwork was appropriate to Doyle's mood: He is a man consummately at ease, but with a air of steeliness that has been heightened by his swapping schoolmasterly tufted hair and Graham Taylor specs for a near-shaven head and designer frames. He is wary of journalists who try to look for the gaps between his own life and the lives of his characters; he winces when I say that I understand he is a Volvo driver, but then smiles: It's such nonsense really. I once used the word 'comfortable' in an interview and suddenly I get 'he comes from a middle-class background'.

View all 8 comments. Es un libro violento sobre la violencia. Ambientada en Irlanda entre los '70 hasta los '90, la novela cuenta la historia de una chica que conoce a un chico, se enamoran, se casan Y no son cachetadas e insultos: Sutura en la boca. Sutura en la rodilla. Cigarrillos en los brazos y piernas. Me aporreaba, me pateaba, me empujaba, me quemaba. Me arrastraba por la casa de la ropa y del pelo. Me magullaba, me escaldaba, me amenazaba. Me pegaba, me aporreaba, me violaba. Me arrancaba mechones de pelo.

Me quemaba la ropa. Me dejaba fuera de la casa y me encerraba en la casa. Porque el huevo estaba demasiado duro. Sin embargo, todo el tiempo ella lucha con sacar de su cabeza la idea de que ella es la responsable de todo. Pero no puede dejar de sentirlo. Dec 13, Emilia P rated it really liked it Shelves: This was a damn good book. Maybe "good" isn't the right word for it, but, well, Roddy D.

The first-person narrative flashes between the past -- a not altogether unpleasant youth, and a pretty dismal but relieved present wherein Paula Spencer has kicked her husband out of the house, only to find, a year later, that he's killed a woman This was a damn good book. The first-person narrative flashes between the past -- a not altogether unpleasant youth, and a pretty dismal but relieved present wherein Paula Spencer has kicked her husband out of the house, only to find, a year later, that he's killed a woman and in turn been killed by the police.

The chapters on the past inch ever closer and closer to the present -- the courtship, the wedding, the honeymoon, the first flat, the first beating. The interspersed chapters on the present reflect on her children as they are now, her semi-functional and desperately sad but also, understandable!

Finally, in a great and nearly unbearable torrent, she recounts the nearly two decades of marriage that are a blur, "mush", of beatings, bone breakings, being a lump on the floor, two black eyes, and how nobody saw, nobody asked, presumed she was a drunk and it was her own fault. Everyone doctors, cashiers, etc , not just her husband, saw her as a collection of parts, rather than as a whole person, who needed help. It was really, chilling What was so striking about this book to me was not really that terrible litany of pain, but the way she was brave enough to see it within the context of her larger life, and that she was able to claim her larger life at all.

I hate to pull the "Irish voice" card, but the style here was a lot like the Patrick McCabe tone, a believable and relatable, sympathetic sort of madness which we all walk around with in our heads everyday. The messiness of one's interior life which doesn't, maybe can't, translate to public life. Roddy Doyle's pretty freaking great, and easy to read to boot. Jun 24, Kiessa rated it did not like it Shelves: First, I'll admit that I am currently on page 79 of If I had to rate my desire to keep reading from one to ten, ten being the most compelled to go on, I'd have to say that I'm about at Next, let me get this out of the way.

I'm no prude, and I occasionally enjoy cursing like a sailor. But even I was shocked by Mr. So much so, in fact, that I can't bring myself to retype the words because I'm so over-exposed to them. The volume of cursing was First, I'll admit that I am currently on page 79 of The volume of cursing was a distracting and unnecessary turn-off. Doyle has written a book about domestic violence. This is neither a surprise nor a spoiler; it was referenced on the back of the book. I have read other books about domestic violence, fiction and non-fiction, and have worked with survivors of domestic and sexual assault.

Perhaps this is why I find this book to be so desperately inadequate. Over 79 repetitive pages filled with uncreative cursing, I repeat , this author has reduced the central character to one role. Do we as readers really believe other human beings can be so completely uni-dimensional and incapable of other defining personality traits beyond their subjugation to others?

Is it possible that a woman, any woman, could ONLY be defined by the long string of men who have abused her, everyone from her classmates to the milkman to her teachers to her husband? I personally don't think so. Nowhere in these 79 pages does there seem to be any semblance of a well-developed character. There are so many books that capture the complexity of domestic violence with brilliant writing, rich characters, and a depth of understanding.

Unfortunately, I don't think this novel is one of them. Anyone seeking an alternative that feels real and true might find something that will stick to their ribs in Here on Earth by Alice Hoffmann. The fact that Roddy Doyle could write a book about a woman stuck in an abusive relationship and make it so utterly believable is a testament to his imagination and extreme skill as a story-teller.

The story opens with Paula Spencer, a middle-aged Irish wife and mother, being told that her abusive husband Charlo has been killed by the police in an aborted attempt at kidnapping a local bank manager. This revelation fuels a boatload worth of memories of her marriage to the man at whose hands she su The fact that Roddy Doyle could write a book about a woman stuck in an abusive relationship and make it so utterly believable is a testament to his imagination and extreme skill as a story-teller.

This revelation fuels a boatload worth of memories of her marriage to the man at whose hands she suffered nearly two decades of humiliation and abuse. Doyle effectively uses a stream-of-consciousness style to make Paula's struggles breathtakingly immediate. You can almost feel the kicks, the slaps, the punches. You understand why Paula turns to alcohol to endure, as well as the motherly devotion which drags her back from oblivion.

Doyle takes Paula's psyche and turns it inside out. He examines the guilt she feels for so many reasons: Doyle asks the difficult questions about why women stay in abusive relationships and lets Paula answer them, with no punches pulled. Nov 04, Ashley rated it really liked it. One of my major goals in the past few years has been to read more books by women, about women. I grew up reading books by men that purported to be for general audiences, but that all too often completely whiffed on the portrayal of women's interior lives with "great" novels and "classic" authors either completely avoiding the issue, or relying heavily on tropes and stereotypes.

Female characters written by women, on the other hand, typically ring truer, even when the character's life experienc One of my major goals in the past few years has been to read more books by women, about women. I suppose there's a reason writers are often advised to write what they know. So when I say that I read this book and assumed, until I looked up the author's biography, that it must have been written by a woman, you can understand that to be a compliment of the highest order, both personal and professional.

Roddy Doyle's empathy for and insight into Paula Spencer's mental anguish is extraordinary.

Such a good book; such a fantastic author. Will definitely be checking out more of his work. Oct 28, Victoria Wallin rated it it was amazing. Even though I read this novel many years ago, this irish tale of Paula Spencer and her trying to survive domestic abuse has never left my mind. Roddy Doyle's description of this small irish village and its working class people struggling to stay together and society's judgements is cleverly put together with a gritty, raw language that is beautiful in its ugly truths.

It is kitchen sink realism in one of its better forms.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

The shock of being hit the first time, the hope that it will never happen Even though I read this novel many years ago, this irish tale of Paula Spencer and her trying to survive domestic abuse has never left my mind. The shock of being hit the first time, the hope that it will never happen again, the love for the man, the lying, saying she was so clumsy she constantly walked into doors, all of these things are described to us by Paula, and it is impossible to judge her. It could be me, is what one thinks. What would I do? If anything, this book shows us that we probably can't answer that question until it actually happens to us.

And God forbid that it ever would. This is one of those books that stays with you forever. Feb 08, Suzanne rated it liked it Shelves: A tough read, at times gruesome and depressing. Not the typical Roddy Doyle novel. As a woman you can follow the thread We may fool ourselves that it would not be us Paula's "walking into doors" rings sadly true for so many, even the best and the brightest. Doyle bring his signature wit to Paula's reclaiming of her life. One finds oneself, as a r A tough read, at times gruesome and depressing.

One finds oneself, as a reader, a cheerleader, wishing her all good things. Jan 28, Guy rated it it was amazing. Shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists. Stitches in my mouth. Stitches on my chin. Cigarettes on my arms and legs. Thumped me, kicked me, pushed me, burned me. He butted me with his head. He dragged me around the house by my clothes and by my hair. Dat in tegenstelling tot de Barrytown-trilogie waar hij een jaar of vijftien geleden naam mee maakte. Ik was destijds in ?

Wist ik veel dat het nu ook niet zo veel moeite kost om het origineel te lezen. Doyle schreef over gewone mensen met grootse plannen, beschikte over tonnen humor, maar vooral: Erna ook deel twee The Van en drie The Snapper aangeschaft, en opnieuw weg van dat sappige Ierse Engels, de verhalen over allerhande losers uit een arbeidersmilieu, en hun pogingen om er het beste van te maken. Na de Barrytown-trilogie heb ik me nog Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha aangeschaft, een boek dat zo mogelijk nog beter was dan de trilogie: Daarna ben ik Doyle en zeker zijn boeken een beetje uit het oog verloren, tot ik laatst een weekje doorbracht aan de andere kant van de Noordzee, en in een plaatselijke boekhandel The Woman Who Walked Into Doors in handen kreeg.

Ik wist al dat de humor-factor in dit boek nog wat lager lag, niet verwonderlijk gezien het onderwerp huiselijk geweld, zoals de titel al suggereert , maar ik had geen mokerslag van dit kaliber verwacht. Deze keer schrijft Doyle vanuit het perspectief van Paula Spencer, een negenendertigjarige kuisvrouw met vier kinderen en een drankprobleem, die op een ochtend te horen krijgt dat haar vent Charlo, die ze een jaar eerder het huis uitgooide, omgekomen is bij een misdaad.

  • ;
  • Paulina Buxareu by Josep Maria de Sagarra.
  • By Roddy Doyle!
  • Beautiful: A beautiful girl. An evil man. One inspiring true story of courage.

Het maakt niet uit dat het Engels van Spencer vaak slordig is, dat ze zichzelf constant herhaalt, dat ze zo goed is in chaos. Het lijkt alsof het ritme en het register zich door het hele boek aanpast aan de gemoedstoestand, of de al dan niet nuchtere buien van de vrouw. Sommige hoofdstukken zijn rommelig en kort, andere zijn lucide en gestructureerd, en geven een inzicht op de tastbare en emotionele leefwereld van een vrouw wiens tanden en gevoel voor eigenwaarde er jaar na jaar uit werden geklopt.

Ook geen all is well that ends well-verhaaltje dus, omdat Spencer, net als haar collega-slachtoffers, terechtkomt in een positie waar amper uit te ontsnappen valt, en het gewicht van het schuldgevoel constant met zich meedraagt: He left me without money and I was guilty.

The Woman Who Walked into Doors Reader’s Guide

They went wild, they went hungry and It was my fault. I kept falling apart. Het boek had ondraaglijk hard en wrang kunnen zijn, maar dat was buiten de intelligentie van Doyle gerekend, die ook hier de nodige humor aanwendt om de lezer toch even het geweld te besparen. Het is een beetje een lullig, kapotgebruikt en hol woord geworden, maar The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is een aangrijpende roman geworden, menselijk en ontroerend, vol spijt, woede en onmacht, maar vooral ook de drang tot beterschap. May 29, Christian Schwoerke rated it really liked it.

There is little narrative thrust in a traditional sense, but as a reader I felt compelled to learn more and more about what had happened to Paula and how it came to be, and how she finally was able to get free. The novel begins with a Dublin policeman telling Paula that her estranged husband, with whom she has not lived for over a year, is dead. Her ability to absorb this is limited, as the news evokes memories that come flooding back, preventing her from asking more about the death itself.

Again the memories come to fore, and Paula describes her boisterous, lovingly contentious family, her upbringing as a positive grammar schooler turned foul-mouthed upper schooler, the innocence of boy-girl activities, then her head-over-heels love for Charlo. The feeling is powerful and positive, enough to warrant alienating her da, who thereafter never speaks to her. These moments of reverie are broken by recalled recent conversations with her sisters, Denise and Carmel, the latter the eldest of the three, and the most negative about her recollections of what their upbringing had entailed.

Paula wants to retain some positive glow about those early years, and she fears that Carmel does not, that she sometimes mis-remembers to bolster her negative vision. Paula little counts the possibility that she might be working the other side of the street. Paula recalls the positive first days of dating, of marriage, of family, then she recalls the first instant when she was hit, an echo of the same moment that is alluded to at the beginning of the book.

There are many such echoes and reverberations, and they powerfully fulfill the need of the reader to see just how jumbled and chaotic the emotions and memories are, how powerfully they collided and colluded to muddle and confine Paula to Charlo. She becomes an alcoholic during these bad years, and she knows that doctors and others excuse the injuries, scars, and bruises as being self-inflicted, self-earned, and she begins to hold onto this notion herself. There is a strong shame and guilt associated with the injuries: Visits to the doctor are shams, as Charlo always comes with her, and they roll out a story of confusion, clumsiness, and mishap.

It is later in the marriage that she wishes someone might ask the right question so she can be honest, but no one does, not doctor, nurse, nor what few friends she has. Complicity lies behind the guilt; complicity of those near her—the doctors, friends, family, and even her children—who will not acknowledge that something is wrong, that Paula is in over her head. There is a lyricism even in this pain, and Paula is able to call up the moments when things are good, the moments when things are getting better, even the moments when it all seems to be too much, and she makes it seem an extraordinary thing, a powerful resurgence of life battered by evil.

She finds out that her husband had killed a woman in a botched robbery, and that the police killed him when he tried to flee. She visits the site of the killing and robbery, and the imagines how it all might have taken place. It gives her no particular satisfaction, except as a way of further confirming there was something wrong with Charlo, not herself.

The moment when Paula is able to take charge is sparked by a realization that Charlo is next going to inflict his hurtful evil on their year-old daughter. She wallops him multiple times with a pan, and she continues to do so until he is forced, stumbling through the door and out past the gate. Just enough specificity to make it real, just enough elision to allow for some empathetic imagination, and Paula Spencer came alive, real and pitiable and admirable all at once.

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E Shakespeare permeava con questo universale interrogativo un capolavoro. Le prendevo, aspettavo di prenderle, mi rimettevo a posto; dimenticavo. Poi ricominciava tutto daccapo Mi picchiava fino a farmi scoppiare il cervello, e era tutta colpa mia. Mi lasciava senza soldi, e era tutta colpa mia. Sono diventata una alcolizzata. Ho scoperto di essere povera e di non aver diritto a tutte le speranze che avevo all'inizio. Senza un futuro, con niente davanti. Intrappolata in una casa che non sarebbe mai stata mia. Con un marito che godeva delle mie disgrazie.

Che speranze potevo dargli? L'avevano visto, quando lui mi buttava da una parte all'altra della cucina.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle

L'avevano visto quando mi puntava un coltello alla gola. Avevano visto il loro padre. Io lo amavo con tutto il cuore. Non avrei mai potuto lasciarlo. Le rende vittime di tragedie annunciate ma mai fermate. Ex Bookworm group review: I know absolutely nothing about women in abusive relationships and I don't think Roddy Doyle does either. Not only do I find his attempt to portray a battered wife unconvincing, I also find his motives questionable. What on earth would make a man want to do that? I didn't sense any sort of crusade. Though he made Paula Spencer human, likeable and intelligent with apologies to our teachers, what a condemnation of the education system she is , there was a total lack of em Ex Bookworm group review: Though he made Paula Spencer human, likeable and intelligent with apologies to our teachers, what a condemnation of the education system she is , there was a total lack of empathy, or even sympathy, which means he probably did it for intellectual challenge.

I know absolutely nothing about women in abusive relationships, but I am sure they can't be explained intellectually. Unfortunately, he worked so hard on his female literary creation that most of the other characters, and especially the men, were one-dimensional. Charlo especially was just a small-town hoodlum from an old film poster, but barely real at all. It was hard to understand even the initial attraction since he was completely charmless unless you find eating chips out of knickers endearing and funny and the whole relationship, including the beatings, seemed artificial because there was no complexity to his character.

I didn't think it was a bad book. I liked Paula Spencer, and I thought the language was well suited to the story. Both comedy such as Paula lobbing her wet knickers out of the window when she went to meet Charlo's family and tragedy her wedding day were very deftly handled. I was also convinced by the world Paula inhabited.


I liked all the little bits of local colour, such as going with boys "You could go with a fella and not ever see him at all, it didn't matter". The one thing I did think was convincing was the way most people chose not to notice what was happening to Paula. I bet that's the way it is and that made me feel quite angry. But, although Paula said "Ask me," I wonder if she'd have told them as she said she would?

I find it really hard to imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship like that, and I'm a woman, so I suppose it was quite brave of Doyle for trying. In the book two narratives are woven together, the happy story of Paula's life and the unhappy one. There is the story of the girl who spends most of her honeymoon in bed having a great time with Charlo, conceiving their first child, and the woman who is repeatedly beaten up and cowed by him. The bruises and broken bones, as we might readily guess, are the result, not of accidents, but of marital violence and Charlo takes her to the hospital, not out of concern for her, but to make sure she doesn't tell.

Ask me ask me ask me.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (opera, 2001)

Broken nose, loose teeth, cracked ribs. Recent research shows that unless battered women are asked in a direct and supportive fashion about the violence they still may remain silent. Were they too busy or unaware or is it something more sinister than that? Paula Spencer was in no doubt: Feminists, notably Ehrenreich and English, 7 have long accused the medical profession of colluding in women's oppression. In Dublin in the s, where this story is set, unhappy women would have been unlikely to receive the help and support they needed to challenge the circumstances that made them unhappy.

It is far more likely that they would have been encouraged to cope with an unsatisfactory situation by the prescription of a tranquilliser. Most advertisements for them featured women, often depicted as depressed housewives. Things have moved on since then. Doctors are now taught communication skills and our awareness of abuse is more acute. We no longer regard benzodiazepines as a panacea for all ills. But difficult social problems presenting under the guise of illness are still very much a part of everyday general practice.

One way is to understand them better. As Iona Heath says:. The solution comes in seeking more detail, however small, of the reality of the patient's life. Each detail triggers new scope for the imagination, a renewed possibility of empathy and a much increased chance of the patient being heard. One way we, as doctors, can feed our imaginations is by reading fiction. When we read a novel we engage with the character in a different way. Reading The Woman Who Walked Into Doors , we are reminded not only of the power of cigarettes, but of the power of love and lust, the forces that much health education breaks its back over.

And we see why it took Paula seventeen years to leave Charlo. It isn't just concern for her children, or the lack of money, support and somewhere to go, although these things matter very much. It is also that she carries on loving Charlo, she carries on having the two strands to her narrative that Roddy Doyle makes us see. Leaving Charlo means abandoning the happy narrative, false though it seems to us, and admitting that the unhappy one is the real story of her life.

Reading it enables us to identify with a downtrodden, abused cleaner from Dublin and to appreciate the courage that makes her, as he does, a heroine. We see doctors and nurses through her eyes.