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It deserves to be widely read. Barry is a very talented writer with a very will received novel City of Bohane and two excellent collections of short stories who may well become a major figure in Irish Fiction in the years to come. I've now got three great story collections to read. I'm in heaven. Will do a review, but so much going on I'm not sure when! Big bold writing, involving and colourful characters eg the slightly boorish but love-able blokes on a beer trip, the drunken doctor who takes up community outreach work with an unseen-until-now vigour when he sees a gorgeous traveller woman in town: he feels he must now visit their site in the woods to hand out leaflets, even the seemingly gentle two old biddies who drive around in their battered car to stately homes on Sundays are not what they seem , but also subtleties and nuances within them.

Wifey Redux plus I might like him cuz he is the spitting image of a friend of mine and writer who died in , Stuart Crees. Here's his picture: and here's Kevin Barry: can you spot any difference? View all 3 comments. Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry is a book of short stories. I really did not enjoy this book and found the stories lacking in character development and just did hold my interest. I found myself going from one story to the next without really enjoying what I was reading.

I am not a fan of short stories as I always feel the story ends before it begins but having said that, I am not used to reading short stories and I think you have to learn to think more and differently i Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry is a book of short stories. I am not a fan of short stories as I always feel the story ends before it begins but having said that, I am not used to reading short stories and I think you have to learn to think more and differently in a short story and fill in the gaps as you are not going to get the plot or character development of a Novel.

Not my cup of tea but am sure fans of short stories will enjoy it. View 2 comments. Dec 28, John Pappas rated it really liked it. Kevin Barry is a sneak. His stories start in one space or mode and end up in another, often unpredictable, place altogether. Drop dead hilarity gives way to deep pathos, and real insight. His characters often long to get back to a place or time they can not return to, whether it be through their own actions and devices, or simply because time moves always forward. His dialogue sings, and when his characters speak of lost love and the process of growing older it is with intelligence and grace.

A Kevin Barry is a sneak. A unique and vivacious voice. Who said the short story was dead? Kevin Barry breathes life into the flagging format with this energetic and thrilling collection.

Dark Lies the Island

The much celebrated author has a wonderful ear for Irish dialogue and a mischievous sense of humour permeates throughout. The New Yorker-published 'Fjord of Killary' tends to attract most of the plaudits but for me 'Ernestine and Kit' is the stand-out. This unsettling tale of two middle-aged women on a leisurely drive through the Sligo countryside quickly takes a si Who said the short story was dead? This unsettling tale of two middle-aged women on a leisurely drive through the Sligo countryside quickly takes a sinister turn and leaves a bitter, unforgettable taste.

He read the first of the stories in this collection, 'Across the Rooftops' and he held the entire auditorium of afternoon listeners in his thrall. He's an absolute star. I look forward to reading City of Bohane. View all 4 comments. I was surprised at the variety of style and subject of these stories.

I finished this short collection impressed with his skill in drawing pictures of many different worlds. Apr 24, Nancy rated it did not like it Shelves: Finished: I am not going to waste any more of my time on a long review. I wasted enough time reading this book!


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Beer Trip to Llandudno funny and Ernestine and Kit I know Kevin Barry can do better Oct 20, Tom Carr rated it really liked it. Absolutely brilliant collection, I was brought near to tears in three separate stories, and absorbed completely more times than I can think.

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Each of Barry's voices are distinct and filled with both comedy and melancholy. Would highly recommend, seriously debating whether to put this in my favourites. Mixed bag of short stories about young infatuation, hooliganism and regret. While I didn't enjoy this collection as much as the novel, The City of Bohane, some of the stories are powerfully good, especially "Beer Run to Llandudno," which captures the nostalgia-fueled regret of middle age.

Nov 22, Allan rated it really liked it. This collection of short stories is the first Kevin Barry book that I've read, despite having heard the critical acclaim for his work in recent years.

Dark Lies the Island: a darkly comic and dysfunctional delight

The stories are primarily set in the west of Ireland, although a number feature emigrants who have left the area to live in London. I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, but was pleasantly surprised, both by the variety of stories told, and also by the at times challenging and dark subject matter. While humour pervaded throughout the book, d This collection of short stories is the first Kevin Barry book that I've read, despite having heard the critical acclaim for his work in recent years. While humour pervaded throughout the book, darker stories like Mainland Campaign will remain with me, Barry's skilful juxtaposition of mundane and fantastical themes in such a short piece really impressing me.

While I didn't love every piece in the book, the way that the majority of the tales grabbed me means that I'll definitely be aiming to read both Barry's other short story collection and his novel, City of Bohane, and will follow his future work with interest. Unfortunately not for me. Barry is skilled at setting up a real, enveloping scenario and creating familiar characters in the space of only a few pages. The humor is dark and the tales poignant in their own blunt way.

Perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with Irish literature and culture, I think, for it seems that it'd be best to have an understanding of the Irish mindset in order to truly enjoy the stories to appreciate Barry's writing fully.

I wanted to like it, but instead found it boring a Unfortunately not for me. I wanted to like it, but instead found it boring and uninspiring, although I did warm up towards the stories near the end of the collection. I truly do believe that I'm missing something essential in understanding the literature, and would recommend this anthology to readers familiar with Irish culture and literature. Sharing the set between Ireland and England, these tales offer no shortage of unrequited loves, sauntering scoundrels, and modern day twists of classic lore. Woven with characteristically Irish wit and dark humor, these stories make for a wildly unforgettable ride.

A fantastic young Irish writer. Apr 06, Belinda Carvalho rated it liked it. This is an interesting, well-written collection with some great stories but also contains a few stories that didn't work so well for me. Interestingly these seemed to mainly be the storied set outside Ireland. Kevin Barry's strength seems to be writing about Irish life, with it's hilarity, quirks and charms as well as the dark elements. A tale of a missed k 3.


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  • A tale of a missed kiss and the fleeting nature of youth. My favourite story was 'Ernestine and Kit' which darkly subverts the image of the old Irish 'biddy'. I liked the final Berlin piece too, I like to think it's the same character from 'Across the Rooftops' , exploring the world. The title story 'Dark Lies the Island' was an interesting depiction of a break down but felt somewhat lifeless. I couldn't help thinking of Colin Barrett's amazing collection 'Young Skins' while reading Kevin Barry's collection.

    Barry must have had some influence on his menacing tales of small town Ireland gone wrong. However Barry is a very different writer and there is a humour, playfulness and empathy to his short stories which makes them really enjoyable.

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    There may even be a sense that redemption might be in reach for some of these characters. Apr 23, Ryan Williams rated it really liked it. Blahblah natural Irish gift for writing. Yaddayadda natural Irish gift for short story.

    Dronedrone make room for him next to Colin Barrett and the guy with the unpronounceable name who wrote Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse. That's THAT out of the way. I've seen some flip comparisons to William Trevor, mostly on the grounds that Barry also sets unflattering stories in Cork, Ireland.