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Kevin Barry (1) (1969–)

Autor(a) de Night Boat to Tangier

Para outros autores com o nome Kevin Barry, veja a página de desambiguação.

19+ Works 2,198 Membros 120 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Kevin Barry was born in 1969 in Ireland. He is the author of two collections of short stories and the novel City of Bohane. He started out as a frelance journalist writing a column for the Irish Examiner. He soon focused all of his time on writing. In 2007 he won the Rooney Prize for Irish mostrar mais Literature for his short story collection There are Little Kingdoms. In 2011 he released his debut novel City of Bohane, which was followed in 2012 by the short story collection Dark Lies the Island. Barry won the International Dublin Literary Award for his novel City of Bohane in 2013. He also won the Goldsmiths Prize 2015 with his title Beatlebone. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: Guardian News and Media


Obras de Kevin Barry

Night Boat to Tangier (2019) 726 cópias, 47 resenhas
City of Bohane (2011) 516 cópias, 27 resenhas
Beatlebone (2015) 308 cópias, 17 resenhas
Dark Lies the Island (2012) 244 cópias, 10 resenhas
There are Little Kingdoms (2007) 160 cópias, 5 resenhas
That Old Country Music (2020) 130 cópias, 9 resenhas
The Heart in Winter (2024) 58 cópias, 4 resenhas
Town and Country: New Irish Short Stories (2013) — Editor — 34 cópias
Winter Pages: Vol. 1 (2015) 6 cópias
The Coast of Leitrim 3 cópias, 1 resenha
Winter Papers, Vol. 2 (2016) 2 cópias
A Murderous Addiction (2012) 2 cópias
A Cruelty 1 exemplar(es)
Brainfreezer (2021) 1 exemplar(es)
Doctor Sot 1 exemplar(es)
Winter Papers Volume 9 (2023) 1 exemplar(es)
Beer Trip to Llandudno 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

Best European Fiction 2011 (2010) — Contribuinte — 109 cópias, 3 resenhas
Granta 135: New Irish Writing (2014) — Contribuinte — 74 cópias, 3 resenhas
Sex and Death: Stories (2016) — Contribuinte — 43 cópias, 3 resenhas
Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (2019) — Contribuinte — 30 cópias
New Irish Short Stories (2011) — Contribuinte — 21 cópias, 3 resenhas
The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories (2020) — Contribuinte — 18 cópias, 1 resenha
Dublin trilogie (2019) — Contribuinte — 8 cópias
The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award Shortlist (2013) (2012) — Contribuinte — 2 cópias
Beyond the Centre: Writers in Their Own Words (2016) — Contribuinte — 2 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



I encountered this author via an earlier novel, Night Boat to Tangier (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/2019/12/review-of-night-boat-to-tangier-by.html), which I enjoyed, so I thought I’d read his latest release.

This book begins in October of 1891 in Butte, Montana. Tom Rourke, addicted to a life of alcohol, opium, and debauchery, meets Polly Gillespie who has just arrived and been married to a mine captain. It’s love at first sight for Tom, and Polly quickly succumbs to his roguish charm. Soon the two head west with stolen money and a stolen horse, their escape resulting in a pursuit by hired hit men.

This is, at least in part, a love story. It’s a forbidden love but one Tom and Polly believe is their fate, giving them no choice but to fall in love. Priding himself on being something of a clairvoyant, Tom “senses the approach of a dangerous fate” just before he first meets Polly. I found myself hoping that theirs was not a star-crossed love and that they would be given a chance to be together because, though surrounded by danger and violence, there is no doubt of the tenderness and passion that exists between them. When a situation arises that puts Polly in danger, Tom risks his life, feeling “He had never had a task so sharply defined in his life before, never this weight of purpose, not this fury of intent.”

The book excels at depicting the lives of immigrants working in the silver and copper mines: “they worked until death the pits.” They came to the Promised Land but “Those who had been dispossessed would forever remain so – this was the golden promise of the Republic.” One immigrant says, “In a country like this . . . all they give you is fairy tales. . . . They’ll tell you that you can be happy. That it’s your right and destiny. . . . Now that’s a bunch of horseshit.”

One of the book’s messages is that survival may mean forgetting the past. We learn little about Tom and Polly’s lives before their arrival in Butte. Even with each other they are circumspect: Tom “said little of the time before he came to Butte or where he had come from” and “She was blurry about the details of things” and both sense they should not press for more information. Looking back may result in being “eaten whole and alive by the past” so it’s best to avoid falling “into the drag of the past like the drag of a river because it is so powerful it can take you down.” And of course one’s memories cannot always be trusted: “the past it shifts around all the time. The past is not fixed and it is not certain . . . The past it changes all the while every minute you’re still breathing and how in fuck are you supposed to make sense of it all.”

Westerns are not my genres of choice, but this one is worth reading for the language alone. There is an energy to Barry’s unrestrained language that jumps off the page. Here’s a description of the effects of drinking tequila: “They were neither of them used to Mexican drinking but intrigued by it all the same – its sweet congress and carnival air – despite the trepanation-like skull pain the colourless spirit had the pronounced tendency to leave in it wake.” A winter morning comes up “corpse-grey and ominous. Winter by now was truly the sour landlord of the forest.” The vivid imagery continues: “the stumps of ancient trees showed like broken teeth” and “a dank hallow that felt like an alcove for the laying out of the dead” and “the funereal odour of juniper as in a church incense.” There are also run-on sentences that lack commas and some stream-of-consciousness passages: “in a shotgun shack somewhere in the Idaho Territory getting fed up like a vealcalf by a toothlackin Cornish gunsman of extreme mental dubiety and the wind is pickin up outside and offerin its slow yearnsome tales – go sell ‘em somewhere else, fucker, I’m stocked – and you’re waitin on your sworn lover.” There’s more than tongue-in-cheek humour in the reference to “writing men with a penchant for the high style.”

There is a lot of humour. We’re introduced to Tom as he is engaged in writing matrimonial proposals for “wretched cases . . . The halt and the lame, the mute and the hare-lipped, the wall-eyed men who heard voices in the night – they could all be brought up nicely enough against the white field of a page. Discretion, imagination and the careful edit were all that was required.” Then there are the various characters that Tom and Polly encounter during their travels, among the first being two Métis men enjoying hallucinogenic mushrooms and a man of the cloth imbibing large amounts of tequila.

The book reminded me of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, but I enjoyed this one much more. Its memorable characters, humour, vivid imagery, and poetic language make for an engrossing, entertaining read. There’s reference to a newspaper article entitled, “The Twelve Rules of Writing Western Adventures” which Tom studies “in grave and scholastic silence” before commenting sourly “There’s fucken twelve of ‘em?” If such rules exist, Kevin Barry has mastered them all.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) or substack (https://doreenyakabuski.substack.com/) for over 1,000 reviews.
… (mais)
Schatje | outras 3 resenhas | Jul 12, 2024 |
Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Review of the NetGalley eBook ARC downloaded June 7, 2024 of the Penguin Random House / Knopf Canada hardcover / eBook and the Random House Audio audiobook to be released July 9, 2024.

This was a propulsive western saga with two star-crossed lovers making a break for a new life out of the mining town of Butte, Montana in 1891. Tom Rourke is an Irish immigrant who could not cut it in the mines and now works as a photographer's assistant while doping and drinking in his spare time while writing ballads and the occasional letter for illiterate hopeful husbands in search of a mail-order bride. Into his life walks Polly Gillespie, the newly wed wife of mining captain Anthony Harrington and an infatuation soon follows which is returned when Polly is repulsed by her new husband's self-abasement rituals.

A plan of escape unfolds and soon the lovers are on the run with a stolen horse and the savings from a rooming house. But Harrington enlists a rather perverse posse of three Cornishmen to make pursuit. The lovers carelessly linger on their road to San Francisco when they come upon an idyllic abandoned cabin, allowing the posse to close in. Tom is beaten and left for dead while Polly is abducted. Now Tom is the one in pursuit to attempt to save his new love or die trying.

This was one crazed adventure with a compulsive flow to the words, often written in a rough frontier language in a mix of old world balladry and new world slang. It was impossible to stop reading as the chapters unfolded with cliffhangers which then continued with the further suspense building through flashbacks and flashforwards. The mark of a true 5-star is when you simply have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.

See photograph at https://www.the-tls.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2024/05/AssetAccess5-3.jpg?...
A view of Butte, Montana in the late 19th century. Image sourced from the Times Literary Supplement.

I immediately thought of the Bruce Cockburn song "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" from the Stealing Fire (1984) album. A 2011 live performance of the song can be seen on YouTube here.

Trivia and Links
There is no mention of it in the Acknowledgements but I have to imagine that the escaping lovers theme must have been at least partially inspired by the 10th century Irish mythology of the lovers Diarmuid and Gráinne which is also considered to be the basis for the later 12th century Tristan and Isolde story.
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alanteder | outras 3 resenhas | Jun 17, 2024 |
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC of this novel.

A quick summary of what this novel is about barely touches the surface. It is ostensibly the story of an Irish immigrant to the United States, come by ship to Butte, Montana, in 1891 with thousands of his fellows from a starved-out country. Also like thousands of other Irish, the promised land does not show him much promise. Most scratch out a living in the area copper mines. Recreation consists of binge drinking and fighting. Life is brutish.

Tom Rourke seems to rush headlong into the troubles that await him: poverty, alcohol, drugs, skimpy wages blown on prostitutes, opiates and card games. Often numbed by his favoured substances, he stumbles toward survival by using his skill with a pen to write matchmaking letters for other lonely and desperate men. He has no particular dream in that regard. Until he meets Polly Gillespie, the new mail-order bride of a local mine owner, leagues above him in status and wealth. They know immediately. They rob a boarding house safe and flee to San Francisco on a stolen horse, pursued by three hired hit men to avenge the duped husband.

In its bare outlines, then, this is a familiar story. New land, new life, new love, impediments to happiness, lawlessness, danger, and high stakes everywhere. But this story becomes something different in the hands of Kevin Barry, who is no ordinary writer. His earlier publications have received international acclaim and prestigious writing awards in his native Ireland. His last novel (2019) made the coveted Booker Prize shortlist. It can be expected that his style is also in no way ordinary. He captures the fine details of historical fiction, especially as seen through the eyes of an outsider, but the language here is more poetic than novelistic. There are turns of phrase, images and modes of speech, and humour both subtle and outrageous, so striking that you will want to write them immediately down to savour. Most important, for all its Wild West setting, and its boy-girl romance, this novel bursts through the usual confines of the immigration story and the frontier love story that it might, at first, appear to be. It becomes something of a meditation on the price of love, and the meaning of survival, and the relationship between what is beautiful and what is not.
… (mais)
CynCom | outras 3 resenhas | Jun 8, 2024 |
A story about the Irish in nineteenth century Western America, which reminds me slightly of Sebastian Barry’s Days without End. We are introduced to two characters:
• Tom Rourke, aged 29 in 1891. He writes songs for the bars and letters for the lonesome. He is assistant to the photographer Lonegan Crane, a lunatic, of Leytonstone, East London, originally.
• Polly Gillespie, aged 31, comes out to Butte as a correspondence bride for a fifty year old mine supervisor, but only lasts a few weeks of marriage before she links up with Tom.
Realising there is no future for them in Butte, they elope, leaving vaguely for San Francisco.
There is pursuit and there are shenanigans, described in picaresque fashion. The language may occasionally be contrived, and once or twice meta, but it is melodious and worked well for me, in keeping with the style of the novel.
I’ve read Barry’s City of Bohane, and although that is noir set in a future Irish city, and this is set in a historical American west, there are similarities in the overall effect, which I enjoy.

I enjoyed that the night was a great silent stage. The story could turn in any direction yet.

I received a Netgalley copy of this book, but this review is my honest opinion.
… (mais)
CarltonC | outras 3 resenhas | May 15, 2024 |



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