Monday, May 07, 2012

Narrator in City of Bohane

Kevin Barry

I have the photo above from The Short Review, and that's all I know about that. I also don't know the narrator of City of Bohane, though he addresses himself to me (not by name) and seems to have intimate knowledge of everybody in the book, even their thoughts, which can sound a bit rough and profane, so be forewarned, depending on the passage quoted, such as the following one offering a glimpse of two killers and the dog that accompanies them:
Smoketown juddered. The girls called out and the barkers hollered. Dreams were sold, songs were gargled, noodles were bothered. Wolfie Stanners and Fucker Burke and the Alsatian bitch Angelina melted back into the night, and as they passed me by, I saw the true-dark taint in their eyes.

It is at this hour that I like to walk the S'town wharfs myself. I like to look out over the river to the rooftops of the Back Trace and the Northside Rises beyond.

I like to see the river fill up with the lamps of the city. (Kevin Barry, City of Bohane, page 74)

Who is this fellow? A guy, I presumed from the get-go, and I was right -- I think -- for the individual has a business in the Back Trace, a small business known as The Ancient and Historical Bohane Film Society, and says only rarely does a good-looking woman drop by to see a film from the old days. But he only tells us this on page 178.

So . . . how does he know others from the inside, as here, where he knows exactly what the main character -- Gant Broderick -- is feeling:
The tang of stolen youth seeped up in his throat with the rasping burn of nausea . . . (page 12)

How does he know such things unless he's the author, Kevin Barry himself, but if so, then as an 84 year-old-man since Barry was born in 1969 and the story is set in 2053? Maybe, if the narrator is that old, too. And possibly Mr. Barry will let us know if the narrator is an older Mr. Barry, for he says in the interview linked to above:
I'm afraid I have to make a confession . . . . I've been haunting bookshops and hiding . . . as I spy on the short fiction section and see if anyone's tempted by my sweet bait.

Well, I'm tempted, so come out of your hiding place and let me and my readers -- who might just become your readers -- know the truth!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home