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Summary

WInner of the Goldsmiths Prize

Prize shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2015

He will spend three days alone on his island. That is all that he asks...John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip.

John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.

The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It's a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.

©2015 Canongate Books; 2015 Canongate Books Ltd

What listeners say about Beatlebone

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bizarre, stunning experience

I found the experience of listening to this book wildly challenging and deeply moving. The author/narrator weaves a fantastic tale.
It took me 3 or 4 restarts before I felt confident and comfortable enough to proceed. I relistened to most chapters 2 or 3 times so I could savour the precision of the language and the flow of the meandering.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Sort of Great

I love the conceit: the fictionalised account of real events in which John Lennon tries to lose the press & find himself, in Western Ireland. I liked the unconventional structure: the author wrote his little article about how he conceived, researched & wrote the book, in the middle, not at the end. I enjoyed reading the book. But there are really only two characters & I failed to engage with either of them. The whole book strains under the weight oftoo much worn out, broken down psychedelia. There's a weird musing, or a spook, or a hallucination in almost every paragraph. Eventually I was listening to it because I enjoyed the sounds, like a piece of music. When it finished (at the end of the middle, because there seems to be no ending) I was surprised buts lightly relieved.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique, engaging, leaves you wanting more.

Kevin Barry reads with the same authentic tone with which he writes. He creates atmosphere with ease, allows for fun, cheek and raw truth to coexist in the same sentance. Pretentions are exposed and honesty delivered. A well told yarn.

4 people found this helpful

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I'm besotted...

I listened to this with only one break and that was at the point where 'John' is afraid for his safety and ...... I also felt the fear, so it seemed a good place to take a break.
Kevin Barry ( he's the one I'm besotted with) covers so many emotions but in such an understated way: there is anger, sadness, despair, longing, frustration, etc. all expressed by Mr. Barry in the enchanting and comedic voice of Cornelius, the flat tones of John and the terrifying 'Joe Director'.
Any further comment would amount to a spoiler, I think.

2 people found this helpful

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Kevin Barry just keeps giving...

He creates a desire to absorb and 'meul' over each phrase, description and image of he animate and inanimate.

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The Voice Of Lennon?

I greatly admire this writer. I came to this (his 2nd novel) after City Of Bohane (his 1st) and Night Boat To Tangier (his 3rd). I loved them both.
Beatlebone is ambitious, it's central character is John Lennon. I have preconceptions, will this inhibit my enjoyment? The plot seems implausible, no bad thing necessarily, if Lennon's voice rings true it should fly alright. As Barry states in the novel '... if we can get the voices right, the fiction might hold for a while at least.' To my ears the character's voice constantly jars, only occasionally sounding authentic:-

Do you have a reservation? she says
I have severe ones, he says, but I do need a room.

For an instant the deadpan, acid sarcasm strikes a true note and I believe. but such moments are too few and far between, belief fails, the fiction doesn't hold.

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Rip-roarious and exhilarating

The story travels, expertly carried by Barry, through unexpected territory. Characterisation brilliant, laughing just recalling some of the characters.

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Great stuff.

Great stuff from Kevin Barry, wonderfully read by himself - novel and humorous and full of invention.

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Perfect concept novel on a perfect concept album

Mesmerising. I'm sure this book will stay with me for a long time, perhaps forever, just like Lennon's memories of being 17 years old.

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Stunning performance

This is a daring book. The language is precise, rhythmic, almost poetic, marrying scouse intonation, west of Ireland wit and the lyricism of Flann O'Brien. It's like an experiential biography, one that wrings the facts of a Lennon's life in order to divine his soul. In doing so it captures the universal hollowness of a life without love. The dis and dat of Barry's dialect grate on the ear occasionally, a minor quibble, but the authenticity of voice and development of character through dialogue are nothing short of masterful.