Sunday, 6 December 2015

Beatlebone: A Novel by Kevin Barry

a Novel
by Kevin Barry

Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf Canada

Ah, the trippy books of yore. I remember reading fragmented, jarring, Beat-type novels at my father's place way up in the Canadian North.

Beatlebone, winner of the 2-15 Goldsminths Prize, has that tone - set to John Lennon's stream of consciousness melt-down towards the end of his life.

I am either too young or too old for this style of book, I guess. But I did find it helpful to listen to the dialogue (in my head) in the style of the old Beatles cartoon movies. Minus the Blue Meanies.

From the Back Flap:

A searing novel that blends truth and fiction--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.
     Based on fact--Lennon really did own an island in Ireland; and he truly did spend time there in the months just before his untimely death--this is a story such as only an extraordinary Irish writer could tell.

KEVIN BARRY is the author of the highly acclaimed novel, City of Bohane, and two short-story collections, Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. He was awarded the Rooney Prize in 2007 and won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize in 2012. For City of Bohane, he was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Irish Book Award, and won the Author's Club First Novel Prize, The European Prize for Literature and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. He lives in County Sligo in Ireland, but has spent significant time in Canada, both in Toronto and Montreal (where his wife has family). Last year, he was one of the instructors at the joint Humber-IFOA writing workshops.