Skip to content

City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

August 1, 2013


The IMPAC award is a quite recent addition to the list of literary prizes – it was assigned for the first time in 1996 – but it has rapidly gathered a lot of respect for its international flavor and original choices, not to mention the generous check for the winner (100.000 Euros!), so I have learned to follow its lead and avidly read the novels they select as winners each month of June, but I am far from being persuaded by the value of their 2013 choice, City of Bohane by Kevin Barry.

You don’t need to read many paragraphs of this novel before you realize that mister Barry is a true wordsmith, the beauty of the language, its richness and novelty are undeniable; the author blends English with Irish and he does it in such a masterful way that you don’t need to know any Irish to understand what he is saying, words and references from other European languages make successful appearances too, this is the winning side of the novel, alas the core of the book – the story – is quite feeble, and its briefness doesn’t help – its 270 pages are the result of the most generous layout.

We find ourselves in 2054, in Bohane, a town ruled by a mob led by the Hartnett family, now the former leader of the gang is returning to town after a decades long exile, the menacing atmosphere is augmented by the turmoil caused by a minority part of the gang who wants an open confrontation with Hartnett. While the initial setting seems to be directed into dystopia territory, City of Bohane never gets there, it has a kind of a Western aura and Barry’s use of language in the long term made me think of an influence by David Milch‘s Deadwood, but in the end the characters remain shady and the story sounds pointless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

Inside BlackBerry

The Official BlackBerry Blog

Geometry & Silence

Photography by Quintin Lake

Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Karzan Kardozi

Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.

The Next Thing

Thoughts On Visual Culture

Cubanito en Cuba

Desde La Habana, Cuba

The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Remote Access

with George

Benefits of a Classical Education

You know, from Die Hard?

The Happy Hermit

Andreas Moser traveling around the world and writing about it.

%d bloggers like this: