In this third collection, That Old Country Music, we encounter a ragbag of west of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. These stories show an Ireland in a condition of great flux but also as a place where older rhythms, and an older magic, somehow persist.
Barry’s lyric intensity, the vitality of his comedy, and the darkness of his vision recall the work of masters of the genre like Flannery O’Connor and William Trevor, but he has forged a style which is patently his own.
Kevin Barry is the author of three novels and two other short story collections. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award. His stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta and elsewhere. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter, and he lives in County Sligo, Ireland. His latest novel, Night Boat to Tangier, was an Irish number one bestseller, was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.
Read: Who’s-Dead McCarthy, The Irish Times
Prompt: Look out of the window on to a busy street. Describe what you see. Then imagine what isn’t there. Write freely for 10 minutes.