I’m just getting around to perusing Roddy Doyle’s volume of short stories, the Deportees, published in the U.S. early this year. The stories are inspired by the experiences of Nigerian immigrants to Ireland, and Doyle originally wrote all for a Dublin newspaper founded by two Nigerian journalists living in the city. Of these eight short stories, my favorite open is “Black Hoodie,” which opens with a riveting passage I can personally relate to:
“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.”
Doyle adds, in the opening passage, a telling line: “You’re never lonely [in Dublin} if you’re with a black girl …”
I must confess I am smitten by this passage because I once had a Nigerian girlfriend myself. She is now my wife. My own memoir of our marriage — Married To Africa — will be published by Scribner in January.