- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Stinging Fly Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (29 Oct. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0955015294
- ISBN-13: 978-0955015298
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 609,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
There are Little Kingdoms: Stories by Kevin Barry Paperback – 29 Oct 2007
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"Kevin Barry has produced a collection of vibrant, original, and intelligent short stories, and a number of the tales contained in "There Are Little Kingdoms" deserve to be read and reread, and to outlast the strange years that made them." --Philip O Ceallaigh, "The Irish Times"
"Kevin Barry is among the brightest and most delightful new voices in Irish fiction." --Rick Moody
"Kevin Barry's immensely entertaining debut collection of stories is filled with compelling characters, each of them fleshed out by his pungent power of description." --Elizabeth McGuane, "The Sunday Business Post"
"In the opening story - 'Atlantic City' - the languid atmosphere of a sultry summer night in a non-descript midlands town is perfectly evoked. Barry's dialogue here is suitably sure-footed and he demonstrates a deft hand in capturing the unrealised aspirations of his characters: 'The summer night' he writes, 'announced itself, with its own starlit energies. It brought temptation, yearning and ache, because these are summer things.' If this is the closest Barry comes to approximating a latter day John McGahern, elsewhere his rural landscapes have more in common with the riotous, serrated world of Martin McDonagh in which adultery, lust and alcoholism are rife. In the memorably dark 'Animal Needs', the author carefully straddles the line between comedy and tragedy . . . at his best Barry casts a caustic, quirky and offbeat eye over modern rural Ireland." --Daragh Reddin, "Metro"
"Barry has some marvellous phrases: 'Marie he decided, was just too good-looking for him: he wouldn't have a hope in hell. Teresa, on the other hand, was at the back of the line when chins were handed out, and she had the eyes of a crow. Surely this might play to his advantage?' He is also gifted in evoking place, in his sly humour, in catching atmosphere and in reducing humans down to their landscape, not allowing them to swell and dominate as they usually do in literature. The text "There Are Li
"Magnificent. This is show-stopping stuff." --"Sunday Tribune" (Ireland)
"Immensely entertaining . . . A brilliant example of short story writing at its best." --"The Sunday Business Post" (Ireland)
"Some of the most beautiful and lyrical writing ever composed by an Irish writer . . . There are truly great things here. Expect more." --"Irish Examiner
"A collection of vibrant, original, and intelligent short stories, and a number of the tales contained in "There Are Little Kingdoms" deserve to be read and reread, and to outlast the strange years that made them." --"The Irish Times"
Magnificent. This is show-stopping stuff. "Sunday Tribune (Ireland)"
Immensely entertaining . . . A brilliant example of short story writing at its best. "The Sunday Business Post (Ireland)"
Some of the most beautiful and lyrical writing ever composed by an Irish writer . . . There are truly great things here. Expect more. "Irish Examiner"
A collection of vibrant, original, and intelligent short stories, and a number of the tales contained in "There Are Little Kingdoms" deserve to be read and reread, and to outlast the strange years that made them. "The Irish Times"" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Kevin Barry is the author of "City of Bohane" and two story collections. He has won the European Union Prize for Literature and the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award, and was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award. He lives in County Sligo, Ireland. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
He has a great turn of phrase and describes the settings and landscapes brilliantly - afternoons are feeble, people have furious eyebrows, you could be on the expressway bus trundling through the damp Tipp countryside.
I used to love his Examiner column and hoped that this book wouldn't disappoint and happily it didn't.
One to go back to.
Characters overly familiar perhaps: drinkers, talkers, singers, fighters, dreamers, chancers: 'fine specimens of fear and bile and broken sleep'.
There are quiet country pubs and desperate farms and collapsing old houses. There is drizzle and general damp. There are old fellas. There is stout; 'the rush and mingle of the brown and cream notes, and the blackness rising, a magic show you would never tire of.'
The language is vernacular and the dialogue comic: 'You're like the auld farmer hitting off to a matchmaking festival. He's had the first bath of the year. He has the hair slicked back with strong tea. He's dragged a comb through his teeth...and he's set the hens on automatic.'
The mood is melancholic, resigned, regretful: 'The years come in, the years go out. The longer you'd sit and look at it, the life of the town would contract to almost nothing, to the merest glimpse of life, the tiniest crack of light against the black.'
Men long for a fine tenor voice and girls for keys to cars.
We're in Ireland all right. Oh yes indeed, sor. That violent, sentimental, feckless land mythologised by countless writers over the centuries. Barry's version is slightly O'Disneyfied: no internet, mobiles, politics. In pictures, the author wear a battered brown hat. His prose and turn of phrase steer these stories away from cliche (though one character does actually say 'To be sure, to be sure', and eejits abound) though he never ventures towards the true despair of Beckett. His future-set novel, 'City of Bohane' seems to be an interesting way forward.
A minor cricism first of all. A couple of the stories in this quirky, fairly slim volume might one day end up in one of those anthologies of contemporary Irish short stories you're always coming across in the shops. These tend to be dominated by "fine writing", serious stuff generally with maybe the odd experimental piece or other thrown in for good measure. I rarely get through more than half of the stories and enjoy fewer. The rest provide a therapeutic outlet for venting my spleen. But they are short aren't they? However you might need to take this review with a pinch of salt.
If this collection is a little uneven why the five-star rating? That relies mainly on the three stories I found most satisfying, the opener, referred to in the earlier review, being one of them. Like the others it has, for me, an 80s feeling to it and deals with life (of a certain kind at least) in small-town Munster. It's a summer's evening and a group of lads are playing pool. There are some local girls, the owner of the premises, a local farmer (I think) and the local policeman. That's all, but this beautifully observed simple piece has beautiful comic timing and an subdued, melancholy undercurrent. It's a time and place I recognize and it rings true. Wonderful.
I can't recall the title of the second story which begins with a "quare hawk" rolling into Clonmel (where "Bulmer's Cider Welcomes You") and treats you to a miniature comic who-dunnit or who-done-what involving drink, karaoke and a fish and chip shop. The ending baffled me but the the story is expertly developed. This writer has talent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books of short stories I've ever read. Kevin Barry has a voice like no other. I strongly recommend this book for any lover of literature, Ireland, or Irish... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Anna Hart
This is a wonderful book, maybe Barry's best (among equals) but I drop a star for this Graywolf edition because of the tiny print size. Read morePublished 23 months ago by terence dooley
Having read The city of Bohane I half expected to come across a collection of short stories written in some mythical argot or dialect. Read morePublished on 20 Jun. 2013 by A. Browne
On a limited number of occasions in my life I have been reading a novel or short story and realised the perfection of the author's description by recognising the place and... Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2011 by P. McCLEAN
A terrific collection of mad cap short stories that will make you laugh and gulp in the space of a few pages. Great use of language and dialogue. Love itPublished on 27 Jun. 2011 by MadaboutBooks