Executive Times






2008 Book Reviews


The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle








Click on title or picture to buy from amazon.com






The eight stories that Roddy Doyle assembled for this initial collection, The Deportees and Other Stories, focus on the immigrant experience. The characters are well-fleshed, the dialogue perfect, and Doyle’s wit will make you laugh. Here’s an excerpt, from the beginning of the story titled, “Black Hoodie,” pp. 130-2:

My girlfriend is Nigerian, kind of, and when we go through the shops, we're followed all the way. We stop - the security guards stop. We go up the escalator — they're three steps behind us, and there's another one waiting at the top. We look at something, say, a shoe, and they all look at us looking at the shoe. And people — ordinary people, like — they see the security guards looking at us, and they stop and start looking at us, in case something good's going to happen. You're never lonely if you're with a black girl, or even if your hoodie is black. There's always someone following you — 'Move along, move along' — making sure you're getting your daily exercise.

I'm not complaining. I'm just stating the facts.

That's the first thing the Guards — the real cops, not the security guards — it's the first thing they learn when they're doing their training down the country. How to say 'Move along' in 168 different languages. Even before they learn how to eat their jumbo rolls without getting butter. all over their shirts.

I said she was Nigerian, kind of I didn't mean she was a kind of Nigerian. I meant she's kind of my girlfriend. She's lovely and, I have to admit, I kind of like the attention. No one really noticed me until I started going with her, kind of. Now they all look, and you can see it in their faces; they're; thinking, There's a white fella with a black girl, or some along those lines. I'm the white fella. It's better than nothing.

I'm dead into her. I'd love it if she was my girlfriend – full time, like. My da says I should just go ahead and ask her. But I don't know. That's what he must have done, a hundred years ago, and he ended up with my ma. So, I'm not sure. What if she says No?

But it's a bit gay at the moment. We're friends – do you know what I mean? And that's grand; it's not too bad. But I'd love to, like, hold her a bit and kiss her.

I'm not telling you her name. And that means I can't use my own name either. Because, how many Nigerian girls is the average Irish teenager going to be hanging around with, even here in multicultural, we-love-the­fuckin'-foreigners Dublin? If I give my name, I might as well give hers. So, no.

So, there we are, myself and my Nigerian friend, and we're walking through the shop, being tailed by the Feds. And meanwhile, our friend, who's in a . . .

And now, there's another problem. There's a fella in a wheelchair in the story. How many male teenagers in the greater Dublin area share their leisure time with young men in wheelchairs and Nigerian women?

Our friend is in a wheelchair, but he doesn't need it. It's his brother's. His brother is in McDonald's, waiting for us. He doesn't have much of a choice, because we have his wheelchair. And he needs it, badly. There's a ginormous milkshake cup in front of him. It's empty. The shake's in him, and he's bursting. He's full of vanilla and the jacks is down the back, miles – sorry, kilometres away.

And his brother has his wheelchair. He's in the same shop as us – that's me and the Nigerian bird. And while the Feds follow me because (a) I'm with a black person, and (b) I'm wearing a hoodie, he's robbing everything he can stretch to, because (a) he's in the wheelchair, and (b) he's wearing glasses. And no one follows him. In fact, everyone wants to help him.

It's an experiment. Market research. I'll explain in a minute.

His brother is sliding towards the jacks when we get back to McDonald's. He's halfway there and, so far, €8.56 has been thrown at him.

Let me explain.

We aren't robbing the stuff because we want it, or just for the buzz. No. We are a mini-company. Three of us are in Transition Year, in school. The brother who actually owns the wheelchair isn't. He's in Sixth Year. We used to call him Superman, but he asked us to stop after Christopher Reeve died; it was upsetting his ma when­ever she answered the landline. 'Is Superman there?' So, fair enough; we stopped.

Anyway, as part of our Transition Year programme, me and Ms Nigeria and not-Superman's brother had to form a mini-company, to help us learn about the real world and commerce and that. And we didn't want to do the usual stuff, like making sock hangers and Rice Krispie cakes. So, we sat at a desk and, watched closely by our delightful teacher, Ms They-Don't-Know-I-Was-Locked-­Last-Night, we came up with the idea, and the name.

Black Hoodie Solutions.


The immigrants in Ireland, in Doyle’s crosshairs, couldn’t be living a more grand life. There are no wasted words in the stories of The Deportees collection, because many were written for an Irish publication that gave Doyle an 800 word limit for installments, and he used each word well in every installment. This collection will make you laugh out loud.


Steve Hopkins, May 15, 2008



Buy The Deportees and Other Stories

@ amazon.com

Go To Hopkins & Company Homepage



Go to 2008 Book Shelf

Go to Executive Times Archives


Go to The Big Book Shelf: All Reviews





*    2008 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared

 in the June 2008 issue of Executive Times


URL for this review: http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/Books/The Deportees.htm


For Reprint Permission, Contact:

Hopkins & Company, LLC • 723 North Kenilworth AvenueOak Park, IL 60302
Phone: 708-466-4650 • Fax: 708-386-8687

E-mail: books@hopkinsandcompany.com