Sunday, 4 December 2011

Book of the Week - Kevin Barry, City of Bohane

New book releases slow down at this time of year, so I want to highlight a first novel which I picked up a few months ago and which remains available signed for around cost. Kevin Barry is an Irish writer from Limerick. In 2007 he won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for his short story collection There are Little Kingdoms. City of Bohane was his first novel, released in paperback only, a futuristic story set on the west coast of Ireland. It received very good reviews and has been shortlisted for the Costa first novel award. A very good read, once you adapt to the extensive use of slang and dialect, and a good buy.

The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and on the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that Bohane really lives. For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchman is getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight - and then there's his mother. City of Bohane is a unique and visionary novel that blends influence from film and the graphic novel, from Trojan beats and calypso rhythms, from Celtic myth and legend, from fado and the sagas, and from all the great inheritance of Irish literature. A work of mesmerising imagination and vaulting linguistic invention, it is a taste of the startlingly new.

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