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Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
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Beatlebone (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Kevin Barry (Author)

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1761399,910 (3.56)16
Member:nohrt4me2
Title:Beatlebone
Authors:Kevin Barry (Author)
Info:Doubleday (2015), Edition: First Printing, 320 pages
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Beatlebone by Kevin Barry (2015)

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
moving and immersive at times. not really for me, but maybe for someone else. i liked the more dialogue-heavy sections where we get to listen to the characters, especially john of course who is a magnetic literary creation. ( )
  bostonbibliophile | Mar 29, 2019 |
Lyrical and magical and essentially Irish. Set in 1978 we spend time with John the macrobiotic father/doubter/searcher rather than John the Beatle. This an unselfconsciously ambitious novel that mostly succeeds. Delightful. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
A surreal, poetic and wild tribute to John Lennon by another of Ireland's talented young writers. This book imagines Lennon travelling round the west of Ireland trying to reach an island he owns while evading the attention of the press. This leads to a series of strange encounters and reminiscences, some of which have some factual basis, and explorations of his Liverpool Irish roots. There is also a chapter about two thirds of the way through in which Barry explains his own motivations and how the book germinated, but for the most part the style is inspired by Lennon. I found this a very enjoyable read. ( )
  bodachliath | Sep 14, 2018 |
This is a very odd book and only really made any sort of sense to me after I read Part Six which gives it a bit more of a context. It's about John Lennon going on a strange road trip to an island in Ireland in 1978. It's quite surreal and I suspect a lot of it went over my head! Some excellent dialogue and back and forth between the characters but needs a bit of concentration. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jul 4, 2017 |
Last Friday, award-winning Irish novelist Kevin Barry was in Princeton to read from his novel Beatlebone. You may recall, as I did not, that John Lennon bought a small island off far Western Ireland and made two visits there. Beatlebone describes a fictional third visit in 1978, two years before he was murdered.
He’s being hounded by media and his own creative demons, and he just wants to get away to this unpeopled dot in the ocean, though heavily and loudly populated by gulls and terns, and slick with guano. He has a driver, Cornelius O’Grady, who began, Barry said, as a peripheral character, but as sometimes happens, became vitally important to the book. He’s John’s guide to the mysteries of Ireland, his goad, and his sounding board.
Much of the book is their dialog, which Barry delivered deliciously:
About my situation, Mr. O’Grady?
Yes?
I really don’t need a f--- circus right now. The most important thing is no one knows I’m out here.
Cornelius fills his mug from a silver pot and runs his eyes about the room.
John, he says, half the newspapermen in Dublin are after piling onto the Westport train.
Oh for f—sake!
But we aren’t beat yet. The train’s an hour till it’s in. We’ll throw a shape lively.
The lack of punctuation requires a little extra reader attention, but it isn’t difficult to follow. What you have is a surreal picture of a 38-year-old man who’s known incredible highs and inevitable lows, seen-all, done-all, who just needs to get out from under the weight of himself for a while. He’s a creative genius tied up in his own knots. On the island, he hopes to find inspiration for his next great album, Beatlebone.
I asked Barry how he captured Lennon’s voice. He said it was a real job of work and it took him about a year. He listened to and transcribed an awful lot of You-Tube videos. Lennon “could go from light to dark, from playful to paranoia, all in one sentence.” And because readers of the book are likely to have some sense of Lennon’s manner of speaking, that voice had to be convincing. And, he said, “the difficulty of the project created part of the attraction.” That perverse Irish nature at work, bringing us gifts.
As Steve Earle said in a laudatory review in The New York Times, “Only a literary beast, a daredevil wholly convinced he was put on this planet to write, would ever or should ever attempt to cast a person as iconic as John Lennon as a character in a tale of his own invention.”
Kevin Barry’s previous novels have all won awards, and Beatlebone won the 2015 Goldsmiths Prize for literature that "breaks the mould or extends the possibilities for the novel form." ( )
1 vote Vicki_Weisfeld | May 4, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385540299, Hardcover)

A searing, surreal novel that bleeds fantasy and reality—and Beatles fandom—from one of literature's most striking contemporary voices, author of the international sensation City of Bohane.
 
It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.
 
Beatlebone is a tour de force of language and literary imagination that marries the most improbable element to the most striking effect.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 11 Sep 2015 17:29:04 -0400)

"A searing, surreal novel that bleeds fantasy and reality--and Beatles fandom--from one of literature's most striking contemporary voices, author of the international sensation City of Bohane. It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour. Beatlebone is a tour de force of language and literary imagination that marries the most improbable element to the most striking effect"--… (more)

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