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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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2521683,910 (3.5)20
"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)
Member:scuzie
Title:Beatlebone
Authors:Kevin Barry (Author)
Info:Canongate Books (2015), Edition: Main, 272 pages
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Beatlebone by Kevin Barry (2015)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Not my standard kettle of fish, writing-wise, but, being about John Lennon, of course I had to give it a go, didn't I?

And to be honest, while it took a bit to get dialed into Barry's semi-existentialist style, once I did, I actually found myself quite enjoying the book. And it was on its way to at least a four, and more than likely five-star rating.

But then Barry did three inexplicable things.

The first was at the exact two-thirds point where he stopped all forward momentum and gave us, instead, a bit of a memoir of the author coming to write the book. As I said, it took a bit of time and effort for me to get invested in this story, so the last thing I needed was what could have just as effectively served as an afterward or author's note shoehorned into the narrative. Pulled me right out and I found it hard to get back to the story afterward.

The second was profoundly terrible section about the "lost Beatlebone tapes" ...yes, I believe it was him tying back to the ranting (I'll leave it to you to read the book to understand this bit), but it was horrible, and once again, mere pages from the end, yanked me forcibly from the narrative.

The third and final piece? All I'll say is, the author robbed us of the island adventure John was to go on.

So, a five-star book becomes a generous three-star. Maybe I'm too old to fully grasp this semi-experimental style, but I just felt like the author ruined what could have been a classic story. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
I wanted to love this book but, in the end, only liked it. The author read the book for Audible and if at times the story lagged for me, Barry’s voice and the poetry of his writing impelled me onward. The story is based on some scraps from John Lennon’s biography, including his purchase in the 60s of a more or less barren island, 20 acres in size, in Clew Bay west of Ireland. Primal scream therapy, another biographical scrap, also figures. Interesting, but I’m not sure what it all adds up to and I found I was done with the book about two hours before it ended. That said, there was a lot of beautiful and imaginative writing, some funny bits. Barry is good with conversation and the ones between John and his fixer/chauffeur Cornelius were my favorite parts. I am not sure who would most enjoy this book, but I do want to read more by the author. ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
A trippy and poetic journey into the myth of John Lennon. Drugs, self, identity, muse and rage. Lots of wierd shit, but it's quite enjoyable. Really nicely mixes in lots of lyrical references to Lennon's music. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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"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"--

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