Roddy Doyle says that the end of Ireland's economic boom drew him back to Barrytown for his new novel The Guts which catches up with Jimmy Rabbite of The Commitments fame.

The Dublin author, who is due to speak today at the opening weekend of the Edinburgh international book festival, says that he wondered what the Rabbite family would be doing in post-boom Ireland.

"You were wondering if money was going to continue to exist. Really, the collapse of society seemed just over the horizon for a time. The politicians looked as if they were drunk or hungover, and they might have been. And they disappeared from public view. It was like the country had no government."

In The Guts, Jimmy Rabbite is now middle-aged and has cancer of the bowel. His music business is also struggling.

20 years since The Commitments and Alan Parker's hit movie adaption of the novel, Doyle says he re-read the original book. "I read it cold," he commented. "I didn't feel proprietorial, I just read it. And I was very happy with the novel."