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Bad Day in Blackrock [Paperback]

Kevin Power
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

8 July 2010
On a late August night a young man is kicked to death outside a Dublin nightclub and celebration turns to devastation. The reverberations of that event, its genesis and aftermath, are the subject of this extraordinary story, stripping away the veneer of a generation of Celtic cubs, whose social and sexual mores are chronicled and dissected in this tract for our times. The victim, Conor Harris, his killers - three of them are charged with manslaughter - and the trial judge share common childhoods and schooling in the privileged echelons of south Dublin suburbia. The intertwining of these lives leaves their afflicted families in moral free fall as public exposure merges with private anguish and imploded futures.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847399398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847399397
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'This is the defining story of his generation. It should be told.' Frank McGuinness" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Kevin Power attended University College, Dublin, and lives in Dublin. He was shortlisted in 2007 for RTE's Francis McManus Award.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping insight into a different world 9 Nov 2010
By J. Coulton VINE VOICE
This is the first novel from young Irish writer Kevin Power. It is a very studied, and fascinating study into the Dublin elite, into the rarefied world of rugby clubs, private schools, the old boys network, and the feeling of invincibility that young people from such backgrounds possess.

The story concerns the death of one of their own, the university student Conor Harris, who is beaten to a pulp outside a Dublin nightclub one barmy August evening. The shock it however, that it is three of his own friends who do the beating, or in this case, the kicking in the head. Power tells the story through the eyes of a narrator, who has observed the goings on of the group at a distance for some time, and who gradually pieces together in his mind the possible reasons and causes of this tragedy.

Alongside the explanation of the friendships, often built on nothing more than mutual backslapping and adoration of the trappings of their wealth, there is a beautiful young woman entangled in the tragedy. Laura Haines was the girlfriend of Conor, but is now going out with Richard Culhane, one of the most beautiful creatures on the earth, a fact that he is well aware of. Culhane is one of the three students who are involved in the fracas that results in Conor's death, some suspect that is was he who delivered the final fatal kick to the head. And Richard saw Laura talking to Laura shortly before the incident.

The story also shows us how the families of all the students are affected by the tragedy. They are affected so profoundly that their lives will never be the same again. The things which they took for granted have been snatched away with three kicks to the head.

This is much more than a simple love rivalry. Power has fantastic powers of observational writing.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 5 Dec 2008
By noc
Hardly a Dubliner was not fascinated by the true life events on which this book is based. The material was ready-made for an excellent novel that could capture the zeitgeist of the Celtic Tiger and kudos to Kevin Power for pouncing on this opportunity. It could have been a tacky take that did nothing but rehash many of the sensational newspaper articles that came out at that time but thankfully the author avoided this pitfall and this novel did not disappoint. It is well-written, surprisingly sympathetic when it could have been a complete hatchet job, yet still driving the point home in the end about the moral hypocrisy of this social set. Impressive from such a young writer and of potential interest universally - not just to Dubliners.

If there's a second edition of this though there are some irritating and sloppy mistakes that need to be cleaned up and should have been spotted by the editors. The Irish Sea is referred to as 'the ocean' by the narrator at one point, the victim's mother's name is given incorrectly during the courtroom sentencing scene, and at one point in the book one of the characters gets angry with his college friend for sleeping in his parents' bedroom in their holiday home, worrying because they would be coming down the following weekend, when a few chapters earlier (and a few years earlier in the characters' lives) much is made of the fact that this character's mother died when he was 13. These problems, though small, should be corrected and ironed out as they distract and detract from what is otherwise a gripping and well-written tale.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Day in Blackrock 1 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a good day in Harold's Cross(where I live) when I read it. Liked it because of it's mean style with not a word our of place. It reminded me of Capote's "In Cold Blood", viz., killing(s) based on fact and in a 'journalistic' style. Although the reader knows the outcome and the narrator knows it also the narrative still manages to create an investigative/detective atmosphere. The author needs to find another subject soon before he's forgotten by a fickle reading public always looking for something more...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, mediocre writing 17 Mar 2013
By jojo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i bought this book after watching the film based on it "What Richard did". The story is good, and is clearly based on a true incident that happened in 2000. For me, the writing isn't exceptional, more mediocre. it tells the story, describes the characters and their emotions, but doesn't really stand out as great writing. So it's a good read, the story really makes you think how easily your life can change and how money does appear to buy you some protection in this world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable book 29 Jan 2013
By Sarah
"Bad Day in Blackrock" has recently attracted attention again, because it's inspired the storyline for the new Irish movie, "What Richard Did." Based on a real case that shocked Ireland earlier in the decade when a wealthy young Irish teenager was accidentally killed in a brawl outside a Dublin night-club, "Bad Day in Blackrock" is a harrowing, gripping and illuminating look into the underbelly of Ireland's so-called 'Celtic Tiger.'

Part of what gives "Bad Day in Blackrock" its punch is that everyone in it, from the judge to Conor's killer and Conor himself, all came from the same socio-economic background. All of them were born, raised and educated in south Dublin's affluent (good and, more often, bad) and it's true that nearly all cities have areas like south Dublin's, which makes it relatable to. This world of upper-middle-class privilege and opportunity has only been increased by Ireland's economic miracle, which was in full throws at the time "Bad Day in Blackrock" was written. As cynical as it sounds, had Conor Harris been killed by three working class boys, this would have been a very different story and the media would have had a field day discussing how "chav" culture had run amok in modern Ireland. As it was, Conor's killers were three boys very like himself, who were all very drunk, out for a night out with their friends and who decided to show off in a fit of bravado and accidentally ended up taking another human's life.

"Bad Day in Blackrock" is about much, much more than the character of Conor Harris's death. It's a harrowing look at the only-slightly-fictionalized actions of three boys who are so like three boys a lot of us know. It's about class, personal responsibility, mistakes and it's one of those books that stays with you. I found myself thinking about it, with morbid fascination, long after I'd finished reading it.
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