The stories in “Life Without Children” are textbook Roddy Doyle, exploring familiar themes, but primsed through the pandemic. I’ve always enjoyed his mastery of evocating the stillness and banality of everyday life, perforated by ordinary incidents that afflict us all at some point. His take on one of the greatest discountenances of our time was a tantalising prospect.
Doyle’s exploration of life during the pandemic isn’t as enervating as readers unfamiliar with his work might fear. As he spotlights an exhausted nurse, the unparalleled isolation of lockdown, and shared anxieties that threaten to derail relationships, most of these stories, regardless of their level of sentimentality, are spliced with Doyle’s trademark irreverent humour. They’re never played for laughs, but the smattering of levity enhances their poignancy. Some are more effective than others, but the quality of the stories on offer is fairly consistent. I enjoyed each of them without ever truly loving one. I missed the richness and texture of his novels.
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 19th October 2021