Our bestselling signed book: Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane
AbeBooks’ bestselling book in recent months is easily Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane. It’s a debut novel and probably marks the appearance of a real writing talent.
The book blurb describes itself as “Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the North Rises and the eerie bogs of the Big Nothin’ that the city really lives. For years it has all been under the control of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But they say his old rival Gant Broderick is back; there is dissent within the Fancy ranks; there are problems with the missus. and then there’s his mother.”
Barry is indeed Irish, from Limerick but he now lives in Dublin. He has also published two short story collections called There are Little Kingdoms and Dark Lies the Island.
The Guardian reviewed City of Bohane last year:
Kevin Barry is a great storyteller, and the twists and turns of City of Bohane are satisfying, if, in places, familiar (all gangland narratives seem compelled to have the same dreary combination of over-sentimentality and violence). But as Ol’ Boy Mannion says at one point, “Bohane City don’t always gots to be a gang-fight story. We can give ’em a good aul tangle o’ romance an’ all, y’check me?”
Barry’s short stories are not to be sneezed at. Earlier this year, his short story about a group of middle-aged beer connoisseurs on a train journey to Wales won the Sunday Times short story award and Barry took home £30,000. The beer story can be found in Dark Lies the Island.
I like his sense of humour. He was interviewed by the Short Review and when asked how he was feeling now that he was selling books he replied:
“Really cool. And I’m afraid I have to make a confession. (This is all turning out to be very therapeutic, actually.) I’ve been haunting bookshops and hiding behind display signs of TV chefs (Nigella is excellent to hide behind as she has a huge arse) as I spy on the short fiction section and see if anyone’s tempted by my sweet bait. I’ve also been counting how many copies of the book are left in shops, and I’ve been covering other “upcoming” authors’ books with mine. Oh what a rancid, poisonous, competitive fiend I’ve become! I have by now attracted the attention of several store detectives.