Dark lies the island

Kevin Barry, 1969-

Book - 2013

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Genres
Short stories
Published
Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press [2013]
Language
English
Physical Description
185 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781555976514
1555976514
Main Author
Kevin Barry, 1969- (-)
  • Across the rooftops
  • Wifey redux
  • Fjord of Killary
  • A cruelty
  • Beer trip to Llandudno
  • Ernestine and Kit
  • The mainland campaign
  • Wistful England
  • Doctor Sot
  • The girls and the dogs
  • White Hitachi
  • Dark lies the island
  • Berlin Arkonaplatz
  • my lesbian summer.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Young as he is, Barry is already pushing a wheelbarrow of prizes stacked high with expectations. His first novel, City of Bohane (2012), received rapturous reviews and was a New York Times Notable Book. He has also been awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the 2011 Author's Club Best First Novel Award, and a story from this collection won the Sunday Times Short Story Award. As the title suggests, the stories are full of starry skies and scarred and scary types. Barry's tales feature bogs and dogs, booze and lager, drugs and suffering. One character remarks, "I was finding out how carelessly life might be lived." Several of the denizens of this dark Ireland live very carelessly indeed, as do those in exile in England. The writing is spectacular, alternately stately and hurried, occasionally clipped but never languid, steeped in the vernacular but never lacking precision, and very often pulsing with the rhythm of iambic pentameter. Smashing, compulsively readable stuff: Barry will be a household name, and soon. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Barry offers a second story collection that offers all the best qualities of his IMPAC award-winning debut novel, City of Bohane—the dark humor, apt characterization, and sharply condensed emotion, so well contained by the beautiful sentences. Some of the stories artfully offer whole communities. In "Fjord of Killary," for instance, a narrator full of romantic idealism and the desire to remake himself has bought an old hotel in the wet west of Ireland and now finds that he despises the very rag with which he mops the bar. He senses that he's despised in turn by the crusty, exasperating locals, who think he acts superior. But during a particularly bad storm, as the water rises dangerously, the regulars in the bar explode into a round of dancing, and the whole story captures the darkness and exuberance of the Irish spirit. Other stories are fine portraits, as in "Across the Rooftops," which tenderly depicts a shy young man attempting a first kiss. VERDICT Highly recommended for lovers of short stories, Irish literature, and good reading generally.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal [Page 70]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

There are a lot of pleasures to be had in Barry's second short story collection. First, there's his way with language—a bent form of Irish that makes the most mundane exchange, like those of the mileage-obsessed locals at the hotel bar in "Fjord of Killary," somehow hilarious. Then there's the pleasure of safely spending time in the company of people you might well cross the street to avoid, like the Mullaney brothers in "White Hitatchi," who are well-known to the local constabulary, or the law-abiding but big, sweaty, and, as their beer-tasting excursion extends, presumably loud, friends of "Beer Trip to Llandudno." Whether they did well in the high-flying Celtic Tiger years, or, more likely, missed out entirely, whether in Ireland or part of the vast Irish diaspora, Barry's characters tend to be aware of both the exact alcohol content of their chosen beverages and the likelihood that the road they're on isn't leading anywhere good. Though "Dark Lies the Island"—one of the few stories told from a female point of view—isn't the collection's strongest, it does offer the perfect title overall: the island and its inhabitants aren't doing well, and Barry is a master at showing both the darkness and the piercing moments of humor and self-knowledge that now and then penetrate it. (Sept. 24) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

This darkly humorous and wildly original collection of stories centers around misspent love and crimes gone horribly wrong, including a pack of middle-aged ale fanatics searching for the perfect pint and a pair of sinister old ladies scouring the countryside for a child to call their own.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A collection of stories centers around misspent love and crimes gone wrong, including tales of a pack of middle-aged ale fanatics searching for the perfect pint and two sinister old ladies scouring the countryside for a child to call their own.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An award-winning collection from the author of City of Bohane, which was hailed by Pete Hamill as "full of marvels" (The New York Times Book Review)* Short-listed for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award * Winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award * One of last year's most critically acclaimed books in the UK * A Guernica Best Book of the Year * A Library Journal "Best Indie Fiction of 2013" *Dark Lies the Island is a wickedly funny and hugely original collection of stories about misspent love and crimes gone horribly wrong. In the Sunday Times Short Story Award–winning "Beer Trip to Llandudno," a pack of middle-aged ale fanatics seeking the perfect pint find more than they bargained for. A pair of sinister old ladies prowl the countryside for a child to make their own. And a poet looking for inner calm buys an ancient inn on the west coast of Ireland but finds instead rancorous locals and catastrophic floodwaters. Kevin Barry's dazzling language, razor-sharp ear for the vernacular, and keen eye for the tragedies and comedies of daily life invest these tales with a startling vitality. Dark Lies the Island was short-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and as one of the most acclaimed collections in Europe in many years, it heralds the arrival of a new master of the short story.