That Old Country Music
A collection of short stories of rural Ireland in the classic Irish mode: full of love (and sex), melancholy and magic, bedecked in some of the most gorgeous prose being written today—from the author of the wildly acclaimed Night Boat to Tangier.
With three novels and two short story collections published, Kevin Barry has steadily established his stature as one of the finest writers not just in Ireland but in the English language. All of his prodigious gifts of language, character, and setting in these eleven exquisite stories transport the reader to an Ireland both timeless and recognizably modern. Shot through with dark humor and the uncanny power of the primal and unchanging Irish landscape, the stories in That Old Country Music represent some of the finest fiction being written today.
Irish writer Barry follows Night Boat to Tangier with a rather mixed story collection. "The Coast of Leitrim" and "Deer Season" tread well-worn romantic territories, depicting doomed and all-too familiar relationships. "Who's-Dead McCarthy," about a morbid townie chatterbox, is entertaining, yet it ends with a punch line that falls flat. On the other hand, the title story, which follows a pregnant teen as she waits for her criminal fianc to return from a robbery, pulses with electricity and emotion, despite its abrupt conclusion. "Toronto and the State of Grace" showcases the author's gift for dialogue and wit, as a brash son and his elderly mother hold court in a sleepy pub, drinking their way through the pub's liquor and showering the barkeep with stories. And "Roma Kid" transforms what initially seems to be a depressing runaway child story into a fairy tale of finding family and purpose. As always, Barry can't write a bad sentence ("A light rain began to fall and it spoke more than anything else of the place through which she moved"), but the too-tepid stories don't do justice to the author's considerable talents. This won't go down as one of Barry's finer works.
Intriguing clips of lonely travelers in the language of the country. Despite many poorly understood words the rhythm of the stories have poignant reality that holds the reader