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Liverpool Fantasy: A Novel Paperback – May 1, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What if the Beatles had broken up early in their run-with dire, world-altering consequences-and then fecklessly come together again 25 years later? That is the discouraging alternative history musician and playwright Kirwan proposes in his choppy debut novel. It is 1962, and the Beatles are in the first flush of fame when John Lennon, feuding with manager Brian Epstein, angrily stomps out of the studio for good. Following the demise of the "Fab Four," the course of history is changed for the worse. By 1987, England has devolved into a musty and vulgar fascist state, in which Lennon's son, Julian, plays a role. Lennon lives a bitter, booze-stoked life; George Harrison is a confused Jesuit priest; Ringo Starr, supported by his wife, dresses and behaves like a peacock; Paul McCartney, popular in Las Vegas as "Paul Montana," has made it big but is fading. Now, 25 years after the breakup, he dreams of rekindling success by reuniting with his mates back in Liverpool. Returning, he convinces them to give the Beatles one last shot, arguing that had they reached their prime, they might have changed history. Kirwan is generally unsuccessful at playing the zany Beatle humor games Richard Lester so brilliantly employed in A Hard Day's Night. More critically, he fails to bring his famous characters to convincing life. Hardcore Beatle fans may gain some titillation from this distorted picture of their favorites, but they might do better to listen again to "Penny Lane" or "Hey, Jude" and try to imagine a world without them.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...a realist tale of friendships neglected and dreams deferred, featuring shockingly credible versions of personas you know and love." -- Entertainment Weekly

"This blackly comic take of a world without Mop Tops is brilliantly written..." -- Irish Voice

"[Kirwan’s] clever premise is bound to appeal to music aficionados and baby boomers." -- Publisher’s Weekly

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560254971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560254973
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,474,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mackenzi Johnson on July 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Larry Kirwan knows his way through the minds of the Beatles. Anyone with doubts shoud read this and then read Hunter Davies' or another of the multitude of available texts or biographies of the group. The voices are as much representative of the alternate John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they are indicative of Kirwan's skills as an author.
The idea of this world struck home-(one of my earliest memories is my dad telling me that one day I would realize and appreciate the importance of Sgt. Peppers'--he was right, of course). While causing a mixture of other emotions-maybe without the enormous success of the Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison would still be with us. Would the trade off be worth the loss? Is it really possible four individuals can make that much of a difference to society? These questions are present within the story-but the reader is left to his or her own devices when it comes to making decisions.
Liverpool Fantasy is just that. A fantasy. Although not a very comforting one. Larry Kirwan is a story teller who has often told stories that lead the listener (or reader) to learn more about a known subject-and this book continues that tradition.
A good inspiration for a fresh listen to your Beatles collection-which comes as a rare and welcome event.
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Format: Paperback
A fictional story about the Beatles breaking up before the band actually became what they are today, conjured up thoughts of a book about the music industry and the changes that we would expect.

That is just a small part of it.

Mr. Kirwan explores what would happen to an entire generation of people worldwide without the release of Rock and Roll and the theraputic nature of music on this generation.

Political ramifications, musical ramifications, personal ramifacations, and much, much, more.

The amazing part about this whole complex fantasy that he lays out for us, is it remains an easy read and a book that you will find hard to put down. The book also goes deeply into the band mates and what it meant to be one of the Liverpool Lads. The writings about them playing has to be as close to being on a stage than any of us will ever get. I am a guitar player, to a degree, and was sweating along with the lads when the band strikes up a chord. I sold my old guitar at 25 and this book made me buy another at 38.

Just by chance I started this book on the grounds of the Hemmingway house while on vacation and I know the musings of Kirwan would make Papa smile.

Thank you Mr. Larry Kirwan, I just picked up your latest work and am just as impressed early on.

Daniel C. Laursen
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Format: Paperback
For those who have a hard time understanding the backdrop for this alter universe, one should do a little research on British Parliament and, in particular, Enoch Powell. The book even has a bit of his infamous speech that led to his ousting from a higher position in the parliament to a much lower level of power. Just do a bit of research on this right wing racist and you will begin to understand the Liverpool that John lives in and despises circa 1987. It is a world, that because of The Beatles not having had the influence on the youth movement and because there never was a Swinging London, Enoch Powell and his facist views are in full bloom. Beatle fans might be familiar with the the catalog of songs or titled improvisational jams that were to make up alot of the Let It Be sessions. Paul was very in tune with the political backlash at the time regarding Enoch Powell's speech and titled one of his improvisations after the man. Paul and John continued on the same theme with "Commonwealth". The lyrics for "Get Back" were also a comment on the immigration situation into Great Britain.
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Format: Paperback
The Beatles changed the world. Where other societies owe great changes to political leaders, scientists, or philosophers the West was changed completely both culturally and politically by the Fab Four from Liverpool, England. No work of fiction or non-fiction brings this truth more to light than Larry Kirwan's wildly entertaining novel "Liverpool Fantasy."
The story is set in 1987, twenty-five years after the Beatles broke-up prior to the release of their groundbreaking single "Please Please Me." The four, never achieving their "fab" status, have taken different paths following the break-up: Paul the Vegas lounge superstar, John the local town [clown], Ringo still backing bands in his native Liverpool and George the Catholic priest recovering from a nervous breakdown.
We follow the four as they get back together for the first time in twenty-five years.
Kirwan's vivid language and descriptions bring the story alive. The excitement I felt when "seeing" the Beatles perform on stage (in 1987 no less!) was palpable. The story is at once humorous and heart-breaking while all the while making the reader anxious to turn the next page.
As thought provoking as it is entertaining, Kirwan delves into all of the possibilities of this "what if" alternate world politically, socially, and culturally. Throughout this sort of magical mystery tour, we come to a new understanding of these four individuals' personas, and a deeper appreciation of just how much of an impact The Beatles have had on everything since.
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