City of Bohane: A Novel
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"Extraordinary . . . Barry takes us on a roaring journey . . . Powerful, exuberant fiction." ―The New York Times Book Review (front cover)
Forty or so 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 there's trouble in the air. They say Hartnett's old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight. Kevin Barry's City of Bohane combines Celtic myth and a Caribbean beat, fado and film, graphic-novel cool and all the ripe inheritance of Irish literature to create something hilarious, beautiful, and startlingly new.
her legs out over the side of the honeymooners’ special. She sat a moment, for breath, and regarded her legs carefully. It was Girly’s opinion that she still had a fine pair of pins on her, all told, but it took a massive effort to plant the bastaring things on the floor and raise herself to an uncertain stand. This move in turn seemed to unseat a kidney. A dart of pain squirmed up through the small of her back on a zigzag course and it was as though the devil himself was jabbing at her with a
close to it now. Girly’s reckon: a good Feud was just what the place needed. In the high distance, she heard the Norries drone their ritual battle chants. She saw above the rooftops the flicker of their bonnas blazing. The Norries were letting it be known they were Feud-ready. Their chants were rhythmical, bass-toned, and punctuated by sombre handclaps. This was the music of taunt and resolve in Bohane. Polis were everywhere on parade, with their riot sticks swinging, and the fear of the SBJ
measure of the John Jameson.’ The Keep nodded his approval as he set to. ‘There ain’t no point livin’ it small, Mr Hartnett.’ ‘No, Tommie. We might as well elevate ourselves from the beasts of the fields.’ 2 The Gant’s Return That hot defiant screech was the Bohane El train as it took the last turn onto De Valera Street. The El ran the snakebend of the street, its boxcar windows a blurring yellow on the downtown charge. The main drag was deserted this windless a.m. and it was quiet also in
searched everywhere with snout and hooded eye. Mute child and the puck goat moved west, and away; they went with the river’s flow. By ’n’ by the rooftops of the high bluffs loomed through the Murk. River followed its drag through the backswathe of the city, its hinterland – that vague terrain. Mute’s busy snout rose to snag on the salt tang: And the wash of the ocean air on this morning of August 13th brought all the colours of the North Atlantic drift. Bohane was green and grey and brown:
finest apple slice that was ever slid across a counter in this town.’ The apples stewed since early morning in the ten-gallon pot. The apples all stirred about by the big, sweating, ignorant-looking Delacey father. The crumble for a topping that was made always with prime Big Nothin’ butter, and the crumble baked till it was golden, and the way the sour note of the cooking apples hung in the air for two blocks at least. ‘Delaceys, yes…Would have been alongside…Alo Finnerty the jeweller?’ ‘Alo.