City of Bohane
By Kevin Barry
(Graywolf Press, Hardcover, 9781555976088, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
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* Shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Book Award in the First Novel category * A blazingly original, wildly stylish, and pulpy debut novel "City of Bohane, the extraordinary first novel by the Irish writer Kevin Barry, is full of marvels. They are all literary marvels, of course: marvels of language, invention, surprise. Savage brutality is here, but so is laughter. And humanity. And the abiding ache of tragedy." —Pete Hamill, The New York Times Book Review (front page) Forty or so years in the future. 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 North Rises, and the eerie bogs of the Big Nothin’ that the city really lives. For years it has all been under the control of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say Hartnett’s old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight.
Kevin Barry was born in Limerick in 1969 and now lives in Dublin. His short fiction has appeared widely on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently in The New Yorker. City of Bohane is his first novel.
Praise for City of Bohane: "City of Bohane, the extraordinary first novel by the Irish writer Kevin Barry, is full of marvels. They are all literary marvels, of course: marvels of language, invention, surprise. Savage brutality is here, but so is laughter. And humanity. And the abiding ache of tragedy." —Pete Hamill, The New York Times Book Review (front cover)"Barry's first novel is a grizzled piece of futuristic Irish noir with strong ties to the classic gang epics of Yore. . . . The genre stew--which incorporates a Machiavellian alcoholic mother, flag-waving street fights, and uncertain alliances--is imbued throughout with Barry's inventively vulgar language." —The New Yorker "As you prowl the streets of Bohane with Barry's motley assortment of thugs and criminal masterminds, you will find yourself drawn into their world and increasingly sympathetic to their assorted aims and dreams." —Boston Globe "City of Bohane offers a dystopian vision that is splendidly drawn if not shockingly inventive. . . . [Barry's] descriptions are notably vibrant (a December day is 'as miserable as hells scullery) and his syntax strikingly creative." —Cleveland Plain Dealer, Grade: A
"Although Barry has set this bewitching, stylized noir pageant of underworld dynastic upheaval in the grim near-future, it has a timeless air, with spookily beautiful evocations of ancient Irish mythology and an elegiac sense of civilization's attenuation while the old, bred-in-the-bones urges are resurgent." —Booklist (starred review)"Barry seems to relish splashing around in the literary mud puddles left behind by language-obsessed writers like Flann O'Brian, Cormac McCarthy, and Irvine Welsh. Meanwhile, an equally passionate love of film (think Quentin Tarantino and Sergio Leone) casts a flickering shadow over Barry's fictional world's pop culture crashes into language, and they are both dressed to the nines." —Shelf Awareness "This wild-ass ripsnorter, set in Ireland about 40 years from now, is a bravura, Nabokovian mind-blower. . . . It's elegiac, lyrical, rollicking fun that mixes Brian Friel with A Clockwork Orange." —Library Journal, "Books for Dudes" “The best novel to come out of Ireland since Ulysses.” —Irvine Welsh "Kevin Barry is a genius. He is doing with his life and his gift exactly what he was put on this earth to do and continues the long and great line of Irish writers. His debut novel City of Bohane is an original and remarkable work of inventiveness. . . . As I read, I felt fortunate to gawp at this wondrous treasure trove of Barry's creativity and mastery." —Ethel Rohan "Kevin Barry is the real thing, and nothing can stop him." —David Guterson "City of Bohane is an unforgettably wonderful novel: hilarious, unique, utterly believable. It's Joyce meets Anthony Burgess, and as funny as Flann O'Brien. We Kevin Barry fans have known for a while that he is a writer of rarest gifts, but this book is an electrifying masterpiece." —Joseph O'Connor
"Kevin Barry is unique, a one-man school. His work is hilarious and unpredictable--and always brilliant." —Roddy Doyle