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Beatlebone
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2015
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A searing, surreal novel that blends fantasy and reality—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 eleven years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to calm his unquiet soul 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. Beatlebone is a tour de force of language and literary imagination that marries the most improbable elements to the most striking effect. It is a book that only Kevin Barry would attempt, let alone succeed in pulling off—a Hibernian high wire act of courage, nerve, and great beauty.From the Hardcover edition.
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/17/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385540308
ASIN:
B00TWDZYMK
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Barry. (2015). Beatlebone. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kevin Barry. 2015. Beatlebone. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kevin Barry, Beatlebone. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Barry. Beatlebone. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Jun 12, 2018 15:44:59
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Kevin Barry is the author of the highly acclaimed novel City of Bohane and two short-story collections, Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. He was awarded the Rooney Prize in 2007 and won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award in 2012. For City of Bohane, he was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award and the Irish Book Award, and won the Author's Club Best First Novel Prize, the European Union Prize for Literature, and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. He lives in County Sligo in Ireland.
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shortDescription
A searing, surreal novel that blends fantasy and reality—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 eleven years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to calm his unquiet soul 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.
Beatlebone is a tour de force of language and literary imagination that marries the most improbable elements to the most striking effect. It is a book that only Kevin Barry would attempt, let alone succeed in pulling off—a Hibernian high wire act of courage, nerve, and...
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title
Beatlebone
fullDescription
A searing, surreal novel that blends fantasy and reality—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 eleven years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to calm his unquiet soul 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.
Beatlebone is a tour de force of language and literary imagination that marries the most improbable elements to the most striking effect. It is a book that only Kevin Barry would attempt, let alone succeed in pulling off—a Hibernian high wire act of courage, nerve, and great beauty.
From the Hardcover edition.
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Josh Cohen, Chair of Judges, Goldsmiths Prize 2015
      • content: "Beatlebone is a novel that takes its reader to the edge--of the Western world, of sanity, of fame, of words. But it also takes us to the very edge of the novel form, where it meets its notorious doppelgänger, autobiography. Its compulsive narrative of one of the last century's great musicians and pop icons gradually, and without a hint of contrivance, becomes a startling and original meditation on the uncanny relationship of a writer to his character. Intricately weaving and blurring fiction and life, Beatlebone embodies beautifully this prize's spirit of creative risk. We're proud to crown it our winner."
      • premium: False
      • source: Steve Earle, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Books like this come along once in a generation, books by writers with real chops, who haven't yet been discouraged from taking real chances and blurring the lines between disciplines. Barry employs every tool in his formidable toolbox--razor-sharp prose, powerful poetics and a dramatist's approach to dialogue unencumbered by punctuation.... And just when you think you've seen everything and that there's nothing else the beast can unleash on his unsuspecting reader, he unveils a literary device this reader has never encountered before--a peek behind the curtain where the wizard wields the controls.... Well, you'll have to read the book. And it works. It all hangs together perfectly to form the kind of next-level literature that inspires, even incites another generation of natural-born wordsmiths to write big and bold and put in the work it takes to become a beast. You see the trick of it? No fear."
      • premium: False
      • source: Charles Finch, The New York Times
      • content: "Mr.Barry's language is still poetic and reaching and imaginative, but now in effortless service to more substantial themes, in particular love and 'the way that time moves.' As the novel's attention alternates between Mr. Barry's real trip to the island and John's made up one, the identities of the two men--both artists, both marked by the loss of their mothers--mingle, until their stories begin to overlap more and more exactly, and finally the two become indivisible, ghosts of each other across the decades. The effect is beautiful, reminiscent at different moments of Virginia Woolf and Geoff Dyer... Even as the journeys of the author and his protagonist merge, Mr. Barry and Lennon remain stubbornly distinct. But perhaps what ultimately makes this a great novel is its author's exploration of the ways that sometimes, in art, we do get to become each other--kind of."
      • premium: False
      • source: David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
      • content: "The story is intriguing, not least because it's rare to come upon a lesser-known narrative about the Beatles -- and yet the unexpected turn of Barry's novel, which imagines a 1978 trip by Lennon to Dorinish, is that it isn't really about the singer at all.... Barry...is a genius of the language, teasing out impressionistic riffs that channel emotion into words."
      • premium: False
      • source: Fred Kaplan, Slate
      • content: "[E]xtraordinary... Kevin Barry's Beatlebone is a strange, intense and slightly incoherent extended fantasy about two months that John Lennon spent in Ireland in 1978, fleeing an invasive press while searching for sanctuary on a remote island he had purchased on a whim. As unlikely as this premise seems, Barry is largely able to carry it off by force of imagination and by a super-charged prose style that borrows heavily from James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, J.P. Donleavy and other past masters of extravagant Irish lyricism at its high-modernist peak. --Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post "Beatlebone is glorious, savory stuff--part lark, part meditation, and a tiny part excavation." --Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe "Barry has a wry, pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and an equally affecting eye for character traits." --Liam Callanan, San Francisco Chronicle "Beatlebone, the novel, reads as brilliant liner notes for a nervous breakdown, a hip, alternative history for Lennon's lost years. We know John never made a sea-mammal inspired album. We are all too well aware that Mark David Chapman is waiting in the wings. We
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 14, 2015
        In his second novel, Barry (City of Bohane) imagines John Lennon in the year 1978, deep in a funk and trying to visit Dorinish, aka Beatle Island—an island in Clew Bay, in the west of Ireland, that Lennon owned. But the press is on his tail, the weather is terrible, and all the islands look alike. Lennon and his Irish driver, Cornelius, lie low, go to a local bar (where Lennon is passed off as Cousin Kenneth from England), and, mostly, talk. Not much happens—there is rain, wind, and mist; Lennon has recurring thoughts of his parents and the Liverpool of his youth; there’s an acrid encounter with some ’60s holdouts. The talk, however, is beautiful: half prose, half song. It’s Irish and sentimental and sly and funny and obscene, covering suicidal cows, the pleasures of cough medicine, The Muppet Show, and the way certain places exert a palpable emotional pull. Two chapters are outliers: a funny/grim one set later on, with Lennon trying to make a record, and one covering Barry’s own time in Liverpool and Dorinish. This latter section, odd and lovely, seems like it could have been an author’s note, but it pays off, reminding us how writing merges memory and imagination to connect the living and the dead. Agent: Lucy Luck, Lucy Luck Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from September 15, 2015
        A famous musician's 1978 pilgrimage to an island off the west coast of Ireland takes several detours, abetted by his memories and his minder, in this original, lyrical, genre-challenging work. Barry set his remarkable first novel, City of Bohane (2011), some 40 years in the future. Here, he looks back almost 40 years as he imagines a 37-year-old John Lennon hoping he can cure a creative block with a few days alone on the tiny island he owns. When he arrives in western Ireland, he learns that reporters are in pursuit, and he struggles to dodge them with the help of his driver/facilitator, Cornelius, who stashes him at one point in the strange Amethyst Hotel. There, John, a veteran of primal scream therapy, encounters people who believe screaming and ranting at one another is good for the soul and psyche. In the course of this miniodyssey, John's mind wends through his past, growing up in Liverpool, a girlfriend named Julia, and his Irish antecedents. He has brilliant, funny, almost musical dialogue with Cornelius. Then, after 200 pages, the author/narrator breaks in and explains how he has tried "to spring a story" from some historical facts. He also retraces what might have been John's steps, including poking through the now-ruined Amethyst. A photograph of the hotel printed on one page suggests W.G. Sebald and the porous membrane between fiction and reality. The closing section features more delightful dialogue, now between John and his recording engineer, before the musician breaks into a Molly Bloom-esque monologue, complete with a lilting last line about "a sadness" in his mother's voice "that tells me the way that time moves and summer soon across the trees will spin its green strands." Nothing at all like Barry's award-winning debut novel, this may be a risky follow-up, but it's intriguing at every turn, and Barry's prose can be as mesmerizing as some of his hero's songs.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from October 15, 2015
        All John Lennon wants is to be alone on the island he bought off the west coast of Ireland. That is the simple premise behind acclaimed Irish writer Barry's (Dark Lies the Island, 2013) singular new novel, in which he portrays the Lennon we know: acerbic, angry, confused, and, ultimately, lost. The only drama here is the remote chance that the Beatles-mad press may catch up with him; otherwise, the slim narrative consists of Lennon's painful ruminations and the dialogue between the singer and the people who are trying to get him to the elusive island of Dornish. Barry's Lennon displays a particular affection for a sad Beach Boys' song ( Well, it's been building up inside of me / for oh, I don't know how long ) as Lennon recalls his mother's premature death. Barry, a great poet of a novelist, devotes an entire chapter to this tale's backstory: how he succeeded in getting to Dornish. With echoes of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and The White Album, Barry has created an unusual novel, remarkable in structure as well as tone, that channels the contradictory nature of Lennon himself.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2015

        In May 1978, John Lennon attempts an escape to Dorinish, a remote island he owns off the coast of Mayo in western Ireland, where he hopes to spend three days rekindling his creativity. Pursued by paparazzi, Lennon entrusts his person and privacy to Cornelius O'Grady, who guarantees to deliver the mercurial genius to his isolated outpost without interference from the press and fans. Instead, O'Grady chaperones Lennon on an elliptical anabasis through the magical Mayo countryside. The artist eventually makes it to Dorinish, but only after spending one evening in a haunted rural pub and another at a commune of primal-scream therapy adherents. Along the way, Lennon resolves to record "beatlebone," a sonic and musical expression of his Irish odyssey. VERDICT The best moments in Barry's second novel (which follows the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award-winning City of Bohane) happen when Lennon plays the straight man to the extraordinary O'Grady. An expository chapter describing Barry's own research journey for the book would have been a brilliant afterword but disrupts an otherwise extraordinary fiction that reads like a cross between Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Ciaran Carson's Shamrock Tea. [See Prepub Alert, 6/1/15.]--John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2015

        Barry broke out big with his darkly brilliant debut, City of Bohane, winner of the International Dublin IMPAC Literary Award, and has since published two showstopping collections. Here, after appearing with foresightful Graywolf, he's getting his first big-house publication in the United States, and his subject matter will have broad appeal. In a creative slump and fatefully approaching 40, John Lennon quits New York and flies across the Atlantic to locate the island off Ireland's west coast he had purchased nine years previously. A shape-shifting driver (Irish magic!) takes him on a trip to self-understanding...or something.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
129
publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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