Beatlebone

Beatlebone

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
4
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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 Irel∧ 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.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780345810489
Characteristics: 299 pages ;,20 cm

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HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

I've lived in the west of Ireland and can attest to the accuracy of Barry's descriptions of the place. For me, the descriptions of the landscapes and its inhabitants were the strongest part of the book. I cared less about Lennon's imagined inner struggles. That said, I love Kevin Barry and will happily read everything he writes.

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lukasevansherman
Mar 29, 2016

Usually when we talk about speculative fiction, it's a sci-fi, but this is a speculative novel about John Lennon. It's audacious to take on the character of one of the most famous men of the 20th century and I can't say that Irish novelist Kevin Barry entirely succeeds, but it's a wild ride, involving a sort of Irish magic realism and a variety of narrative approaches, including a section where Barry relates his own travel to the island and a scene structured like a play. I think "All You Need is Love (and Your Own Island)" would've been a stronger title. Contra the comment below, I think Barry certainly is Dermot Healey!

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uncommonreader
Feb 21, 2016

The author had an intriguing idea for this novel, but in the end it just does not work, perhaps because we all have our own understanding of John Lennon. As well, in terms of the "typical" characters of Western Ireland, Barry is certainly no Dermot Healey.

d
Dee46
Dec 16, 2015

Wonderful being inside the fictional John Lennon's head and especially being immersed in the 1970's remote west coast of Ireland atmosphere. Enjoyed the modernistic writing and could have done without the interruption of the author's explanations near the end of the book. By then I'd found the answers to questions I had elsewhere. I'm looking forward to other Kevin Barry books. Wonder if he's a descendent of the early 1900's Kevin Barry?

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