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City of Bohane by [Barry, Kevin]
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City of Bohane Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Length: 287 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


“The best novel to come out of Ireland since Ulysses.” ―Irvine Welsh

“A grizzled piece of futuristic Irish noir with strong ties to the classic gang epics of yore . . . Virtuosic.” ―The New Yorker

“I found Kevin Barry's City of Bohane a thrilling and memorable first novel.” ―Kazuo Ishiguro, from the Man Booker Prize interview

“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.” ―The Boston Globe

“The real star here is Barry's language, the music of it. Every page sings with evocative dialogue, deft character sketches, impossibly perfect descriptions of the physical world.” ―The Millions

“Splendidly drawn . . . Strikingly creative.” ―The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Grade: A


"[Barry's] work is hilarious and unpredictable--and always brilliant." --Roddy Doyle

"The best novel to come out of Ireland since Ulysses." --Irvine Welsh

"What 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 the real thing, and nothing can stop him." --David Guterson

Product Details

  • File Size: 581 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (March 31, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 31, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RPIU2O
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,384 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bohane is a thoroughly lawless Irish town, set in what would appear to be some kind of parallel universe. We are told it is set in 2053, but it's a town without any technology or modern luxuries. It's a violent place fueled by alcohol, drugs and lust with a patois style language that takes a little work to get into. Novels with this kind of premise have to be beyond good if they are to interest the annual literary prize judges; this is one such book and "City of Bohane" is nominated for this year's Costa First Novel prize. It is stunningly good.

The book's brilliance lies not so much in the plot though. It's a relatively straightforward gang land power struggle. Neither does it solely lie with the great range of characters, although they are amusingly well drawn. From the gangland leader and part time mummy's boy Logan Hartnett, his domineering mother, Girly, to the young pretenders Jenni Ching, Wolfie Stanners and a certain Mr Burke, whose nickname rhymes with `mucker', through to the arch manipulator Ol' Boy Mannion.

Great though these characters are, and Kevin Barry frequently goes to great lengths to describe their bizarre fashion tastes, it is the way that Barry uses language to describe the scenes that is so brilliant. Hardly a page went by without it invoking a smile at the sheer brilliance of the descriptions. It's difficult to give examples, because of the unique style of the language which taken out of context is merely confusing, but in a bar "ceiling fans whirred, noirishly against the night, and were stoical, somehow, like the old uncles of the place, all raspy and emphysemic". He does this again and again.

The book's cultural influences are worn on its sleeve and are wide ranging.
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Format: Paperback
I started this book with the idea that it might turn out to be a waste of time. All I knew about it was the blurb inside the front cover. It's about a city, forty years in the future, in which social order breaks down and the running of commercial and social life are under the direction of the strongest gang.

Dialogue in the book is in a slang developed to reflect the passing of forty years from now. The city is in the West of Ireland and the dialect is a mixture of Irish slang, bits of Scottish, and new words and twists of old, not to mention some interesting sentence constructs derived from various social groups, primarily itinerants.

So, is it Clockwork Orange, or Trainspotting?

It touches on similar elements, but it is something different. After reading two chapters I was open to the idea that the book might prove ok. Having finished the book I can say it is.

It does take getting used to, but the language used is worth it. Despite the heavily phonetic and oddly constructed sentences, it works and reading it does not jar or cause disturbance. I admit I was reading it quite slowly to begin with, but very quickly I got used to the style and found it helped build the atmosphere.

The core theme is power, and we follow the life of Logan Hartnett, the leader of the dominant gang, and we see how he fairs with three ambitious lieutenants at his back, competing gangs wanting to make a move against his gang's dominance, and the return of his own gang's former leader.

This is a fascinating study of power struggles, power-broking, and, surprisingly enough, the nostalgia one feels for bygone days.

An enjoyable read that demonstrates the comparatively young author understands feelings and emotions of people significantly older than he is.
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Format: Hardcover
In this imaginative and unconventional novel, Irish author Kevin Barry creates an almost feudal, fictional city in the west of Ireland in the year 2053. Instead of being "futuristic," however, the novel is a throwback to simpler pagan times in which life is seen as the rule of the strong over the weak, with vengeance and its inevitable bloodshed a way of imposing control. The lack of real "civilization," which may or may not have existed in Bohane's past, seems to have no connection to any apocalypse, and, despite the 2053 setting, the town has no technology at all, and never has. Though Sweet Baba Jay (Jesus) is often mentioned and is accepted as a living force in the lives of some of the people, their behavior and actions in their dog-eat-dog world more closely resemble the ravening hordes which swept down in pagan times to wreak havoc on weaker tribes.

Having turned normal expectations upside down, the author ultimately creates a strange but often exciting and darkly humorous novel about the bizarre characters who inhabit Bohane, a tiny city on a western peninsula, its day-to-day life controlled by armed gangs and their bosses. Logan Hartnett, also called the Albino, the Long Fella, the `Bino, and H, is the "most ferocious power in the city," ruling the Back Trace, "a most evil labyrinth." He also controls Smoketown, an area of "hoors, herb, fetish parlours, grog pits, [and] needle alleys." The Cusacks, who live in the Northside Rises, are challenging his power, however, and the Gant Broderick, a man who has been gone from Bohane for twenty-five years, has now returned. When a Feud is declared, to much fanfare and the showing of flags and colors, all hell breaks loose.
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