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City of Bohane

City of Bohane [Kindle Edition]

Kevin Barry
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


"The most arresting and original writer to emerge from these islands in years" Irvine Welsh "Hilarious and unpredictable - and always brilliant" Roddy Doyle "Astonishing.This marks him out as a writer of great promise" Guardian "Beautiful, arresting, precise...a compelling creation" Irish Times "An electrifying masterpiece" Joseph O'Connor


"[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

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 382 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1555976085
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (31 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RPIU2O
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,533 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
What a glorious, dark, weird, wonderful book. Gang warfare in a strange composite of Sligo/Galway/Limerick, in a time not so very far from now, featuring a lover's triangle and more heartstrickenness than "Romeo and Juliet"? Yes, but it works -- or rather doesn't work, just flows and ebbs like the dirty river that divides and centers the town. The old fight and strive to stay young; the young die sometimes before they should; an Ireland at once traditionally homogenous and rampantly multicultural is not only possible but fully here. All ends not with a bang but with a whimper, as I see it, and I finished ready to take a deep breath, pick it back up, and start all over again.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violent yet strangely beautiful 25 Nov 2011
`The City of Bohane' had been sitting on my `must read pile' for a couple of months, finally forcing itself to the top by being shortlisted for the Costa first novel award. Why did I leave it so long? It is violent, funny, intelligent, imaginative and strangely beautiful. Bohane, on the west coast of Ireland was once a great city, we encounter it 40 years into the future when it is a `sin city', run by various gangs and full of murder, drugs and prostitution. Logan Hartnett of the Fancy gang has kept it under control for years but things are changing starting with the return of Gant, the previous leader of the gang. A feud is due with all the bloodshed it will entail, but then peace can only last for so long, betrayal and changes of allegiance are on the cards.

The basic plot may not be completely new but it is the way the story is told that kept me riveted to the page. The language is a form of patois, but it isn't hard to understand the meaning behind the words. The fight between the gangs isn't described as it happens but we learn about it from a set of `still' images through the eyes of Balthazar Grimes, the photographer for the `Vindicator' as he develops the images, deciding which he will use. Hartnett and Gant are joined by a cast of thoroughly disreputable characters, unlikeable yet at the same time, comic. Harnett's old mother is an inspired creation and possibly the only person he is truly scared of. Then there is Macu, Hartnett's wife and the love of his life who has a history with Gant.

I loved this book and can see the author picking up a cult following. The language may be a bit strong for some readers, but it is integral to the story, sounds natural coming from the characters and does add to the overall dark humour that permeates the novel. Recommended for anyone looking for something a bit different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars City of Bohane
I loved this book, a very unique style of writing by the author, inside the heads of the ordinary people of Ireland affected by the collapse of the building trade.... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Helene Moran
5.0 out of 5 stars strange and wonderful
The city of Bohane is a place you wouldn't want to be, but from a safe distance it's fascinating and exciting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. E. Birch
4.0 out of 5 stars great images, flat ending
The world Kevin creates is fantastic and gripping.

It all works well till the ending, which is a little flat.

But read it for the first 95%
Published 8 months ago by Mahonj
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get enough
After the first few pages I was wondering whether I could get my head around the unique colloqialism jumping from the pages and had to re-read some of the exchanges, but I quickly... Read more
Published 10 months ago by euge
4.0 out of 5 stars Different but well written
A difficult read to start with as you have to get used to the futuristic vernacular in which it is written. Otherwise well written with well drawn characters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Karen Duffy
5.0 out of 5 stars City of Bohane
A future landscape with an evolved street language very convincingly carried out. I enjoyed the characters, who seemed to be solid and larger than life. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paul O'Neill
1.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented narrative
I couldn't get into the universe the author tried to create.
So, I don't feel like I have a point of view about this book, apart form the fact that it remained hermetic to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Fanny Gendrau
5.0 out of 5 stars Be patient, you'll be glad you persevered
Don't be put off by the new language the author has invented. You quickly get used to it as you get drawn into the book. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David Poyser
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Really enjoyed it. So many interesting characters and a great story. My favourite character is Girly. Loved the language, particularly people's names and places, y'check me!
Published 16 months ago by Mrs A Offer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Amazing book. Characters so strong and interesting. Language used is particularly fun for irish readers. Story is very well paced and never too obvious. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jim Harty
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