Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Service

I've just finished reading Kevin Barry's City of Bohane. It is adorned in cover quotes by literary stars who all say that it's a masterpiece. Roddy Doyle states it's 'brilliant.' Joseph O'Connor waxes that it is 'an unforgettably wonderful novel ... an electrifying masterpiece.' Niall Griffiths argues that it 'beautifully illustrates, the mad glory of the human imagination. It should be met with parties and parades and pyrotechnics.' Hugo Hamilton says it is 'an extreme adventure in pure language and fictional daring.' Irvine Welsh thinks Barry is 'the most arresting and original writer to emerge from these islands in years.' I've just finished writing my review. Suffice to say, I'm at odds with the literary greats. My view is more in line with that I've just found in the Independent - 'City of Bohane, for all its surface brilliance, turns out to be such a letdown.' Which is a real shame as I so wanted to like it more than I did. Barry is undoubtedly a very fine wordsmith, but much more is needed for a satisying novel than a great turn of phrase. I'll post my review tomorrow. In the meantime, are there any books you've read where your opinion of the book radically differed to the cover quotes? It seems to be happening to me quite a bit these days.

My posts this week
Review of Absolute Zero Cool by Declan Burke
Demolishing unfinished estates
Fiction based on real crimes
Review of Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott
Putting apprehensions to one side
Blood pumping quick

1 comment:

Uriah Robinson said...

Rob, there was a Banville/Black I read that was the perfect antidote to insomnia. I also read one very annoying Louise Penny and decided she must be a lot cleverer than the average reader, and keen to ensure I knew that fact.
I must be the only person in the world, who did not immediately go out and buy all her books.
When I hear the phrase "clever wordsmith" or "beautifully written" I immediately look for the pile of books to go to the charity shop.