That Old Country Music by Kevin Barry [8/10]

I cannot summon up another writer whose prose makes me swoon as much as Kevin Barry’s does. A masterful mix of Irish scutty and lyricism, any Barry page just feels so damned pleasurable to absorb! Especially powerful is his knack of capturing places and moods. His dialogue is an object lesson for lesser writers. Therefore, even though I am not a short story fan, I devoured the eleven tales in “That Old Country Music” and can vouch for every one of them. Most notable are “The Coast of Leitrim,” a love story that can break a heart; the glorious drunken mayhem of “Toronto and the State of Grace”; and the slapstick of “Who’s-Dead McCarthy.” Read all eleven, dear reader, That Old Country Music is a joy.

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