Monday, December 28, 2015

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry

Disappointing.  I was expected the sort of completely organic fiction of City of Bohane, with its marvelous imagination of an Ireland in the dystopian future.

Instead, Beatlebone is a treacly "what if?" narrative, as in, what if Barry could get inside John Lennon's head during his broken-down years of 1975-1978?  So we get JL's vaunted scream therapy, we get JL's memories of his beloved mother and his hated father, we get JL's public voice, punny, funny and angry, all set down in a lyrical Irish landscape of the West Coast and western islands.  We got a bizarre late chapter in which Barry writes in first person of his teasing attempts to lace his notes with the real, and a journal of his own visit to JL's supposed Irish island.  We got a late short chapter of JL speaking/singing/rhapsodizing into a microphone of his own stream of consciousness for his great lost ficitional album Beatlebone that he dreamed up on the island.

But the whole thing, frankly, was an effort to read.  Disappointed!

It does make me want to listen to JL's Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey songs.  But it does not make me want to read more Barry, for now.

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