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Dark Lies the Island

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  105 reviews
A kiss that just won't happen. A disco at the end of the world. A teenage goth on a terror mission. And OAP kiddie-snatchers, and scouse real-ale enthusiasts, and occult weirdness in the backwoods...

Dark Lies the Island is a collection of unpredictable stories about love and cruelty, crimes, desperation, and hope from the man Irvine Welsh has described as 'the most arresti
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2012 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2012)
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Tre stelle e mezza.
Quando leggiamo per la prima volta un libro di un autore del quale fino a qualche tempo prima non avevamo sentito nemmeno parlare è impossibile non cercare somiglianze con chi, invece, già conosciamo. Kevin Barry, l’irlandesissimo Kevin Barry, assomiglia a volte a Doyle, altre a Mcliam Wilson – a quest’ultimo soprattutto quando si sofferma sui colori e sui paesaggi dell’Irlanda. Kevin Barry assomiglia tantissimo a Welsh, soprattutto in quei racconti in cui troviamo storie e pe
great review in the Guardian that compares him to VS Pritchett (one of my favourite writers & I met him once!).

hurray just in at the library. I've now got three great story collections to read. I'm in heaven.
...another superb collection. Will do a review, but so much going on I'm not sure when! (got another three or four to catch up on).

Big bold writing, involving and colourful characters (eg the slightly boorish but love-able blokes on a beer trip, the drunken doctor who takes up community
Ian Young
Short stories have a strong place in Irish writing, and many Irish authors of literary fiction have turned their hand to the genre. Kevin Barry is a very fine addition to the list. Dark Lies the Island is his second volume in this format and maintains a superb standard throughout, ranging from the touching, romantic and poignant through the humourous to the threatening. There are hints of an older more traditional Ireland, but the overall tone is very much one of an Ireland overtaken by new valu ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
This is the second book by Kevin Barry that I bought, but it became the first one that I've actually read.
The Gaelic-Nadsatesque reputation of 'City of Bohane' is still too intimidating to win over. Time will tell.

Thus, I decided to give Mr Barry a go starting with a selection of some of his most recent short stories, thanks to a fruitful and affordable harvest along the shelves of the Hay Cinema Bookshop.

Credits first.
There are 13 short stories in 'Dark Lies the Island' and five out of the fir
Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry is a book of short stories.

I really did not enjoy this book and found the stories lacking in character development and just did hold my interest. I found myself going from one story to the next without really enjoying what I was reading.

I am not a fan of short stories as I always feel the story ends before it begins but having said that, I am not used to reading short stories and I think you have to learn to think more and differently in a short story and fill
Bernie Mcgill
I heard Kevin Barry read in the summer at the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh. He read the first of the stories in this collection, 'Across the Rooftops' and he held the entire auditorium of afternoon listeners in his thrall. I'd read one other of the stories, 'The Girls and the Dogs' online at The Irish Times ( so I had an idea of what I was in for: dark, gritty, humorous writing that never lets you sit back on your haunches but has you ...more
This collection of short stories is the first Kevin Barry book that I've read, despite having heard the critical acclaim for his work in recent years. The stories are primarily set in the west of Ireland, although a number feature emigrants who have left the area to live in London.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, but was pleasantly surprised, both by the variety of stories told, and also by the at times challenging and dark subject matter. While humour pervaded throughout the book, d
Unfortunately not for me. Barry is skilled at setting up a real, enveloping scenario and creating familiar characters in the space of only a few pages. The humor is dark and the tales poignant in their own blunt way. Perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with Irish literature (and culture, I think, for it seems that it'd be best to have an understanding of the Irish mindset in order to truly enjoy the stories) to appreciate Barry's writing fully. I wanted to like it, but instead found it boring a ...more
John Pappas
Kevin Barry is a sneak. His stories start in one space or mode and end up in another, often unpredictable, place altogether. Drop dead hilarity gives way to deep pathos, and real insight. His characters often long to get back to a place or time they can not return to, whether it be through their own actions and devices, or simply because time moves always forward. His dialogue sings, and when his characters speak of lost love and the process of growing older it is with intelligence and grace. A ...more
Simone Subliminalpop
L’Irlanda soprattutto, descritta da Kevin Barry in questa sua prima raccolta di racconti tradotta in Italia (in realtà l’unione delle sue due pubblicate fino ad ora) con tratti quasi poetici, anche quando le vicende suggerirebbero tutto tranne quello. Raramente ci sono grandi città, più spesso sono paesi o strade che serpeggiano lungo le verdi vallate; solitudini che attraversano ampi spazi o cercano conforto in piccoli rifugi (sovente un pub) in un continuo rimbalzare dagli uni agli altri. Hann ...more
A fantastic young Irish writer.
Vivian Valvano
I met and heard Kevin Barry read (from his novel CITY OF BOHANE)in Montreal this summer during the IASIL Conference and was intrigued. (He happens to be a fabulous reader - very animated and dramatic.) I bought the novel and this story collection, and I started with the stories. It's a very good collection. I'm not saying that every single thing works, but enough of the stories are so good that DARK LIKES THE ISLAND deserves serious attention. Generally speaking, the stories' atmospheres carry a ...more
A. Mary
Please, Kevin Barry, hurry and write another book. When I read his first, the stories in There are Little Kingdoms, I said there are twists. It's quirky, I said, and refreshing. Here he is with his third book, and he remains quirky and refreshing, more than a bit dark, and even though he has been so in three straight books, he manages not to become derivative of himself. He doesn't repeat himself. In Dark Lies the Island, he explores child abduction, self-cutting, functional alcoholism, and more ...more
Keith Rosson
Barry's 2nd story collection, DARK LIES THE ISLAND seems to have traded the ardent lyricism of his first book for a focus on story itself, if that makes sense. The stories here are sturdy things, which is fine, but it somewhat lacks the singing, wonderful, jaw-dropping wordplay of THERE ARE LITTLE KINGDOMS and his novel, CITY OF BOHANE.

DLTI does seem to pick up steam midway through, and by the end of the collection that familiar verve has returned somewhat, but as a whole this one comes across
Patricia Mccrystal
This collection of short stories is the modern day Dubliners we’ve been waiting for. Sharing the set between Ireland and England, these tales offer no shortage of unrequited loves, sauntering scoundrels, and modern day twists of classic lore. Woven with characteristically Irish wit and dark humor, these stories make for a wildly unforgettable ride.
Ironically I heard this author a few weeks ago on Public Radio and jotted his name down only to find his book in the mail from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I thought it would be a great read because I usually Iove anything related to Ireland due to the fact that my maternal grandfather came from Belmullet, County Mayo. The stories had an underlying darkness and I think that I would have enjoyed these stories more if I understood the meaning and voice of Mr. Barry if I were Irish, which I am ...more
Mohamed Ghazi
It was my first Irish book. And I gave it 2 stars because I've learned few things about the Irish people and that’s it. I found most of the stories pointless, lacking the elements of excitement. I did like a story or two. But still. Not my type of read.
Jennifer-Eve Workman
Sep 24, 2015 Jennifer-Eve Workman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer-Eve by: Goodreads Giveaway
Shelves: 2013
I won this through Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

I was torn between giving this 3 or 4 stars. It was a well written book of short stories but I don't think I'm really into "short story" books. So it might just be that I didn't enjoy it because of my own tastes instead of it not being a very good book.

Some of the stories would have made excellent books by themselves and it was a bit aggravating that they weren't. Other than that I think the author did a fine job writing the book and each of the
Emily Philbin
Kevin Barry's collection of short stories is certainly a great read that I am so glad to have stumbled upon. I was immediately taken by the way his descriptions of various locales in Ireland mirror the personalities of his characters. Both the landscape and the characters often begin benignly, expressing a bit of charm and at times even innocence, but just like the weather on the Emerald Isle, the characters take an unexpected turn that catches the reader unawares. The dark, twisted (yet also hu ...more
I was surprised at the variety of style and subject of these stories. I saw Kevin Barry do a reading recently in Washington DC where he read, rather he performed, the story about Killary Harbor. I finished this short collection impressed with his skill in drawing pictures of many different worlds.
First, the good stuff, because Kevin Barry is full of good stuff. He's at his best when his stories veer that little bit off the road into the bizarre and the slightly unexpected. He's able to capture off-the-wall, perhaps manic voices with believability and aplomb. Which is what he does so well in "Fjord of Killary," "Wifey Redux," "Beer Trip of Llandudno," and "Doctor Sot."
"Fjords of Killary" is a brilliant story, but you probably knew that because it's been in the New Yorker and thrown around
Mary Lou
My words are inadequate to review a great set of stories such as these. The Fjord at Killary was my favourite. I do need to keep in mind tho that when Kevin Barry has me laughing fit to burst, its a vulnerable state and one He takes complete advantage of, often changing the mood to darkness in the wink of an eye.
Lots of darkness and troubled souls here- not for the faint hearted
These stories were totally different than CITY OF BOHANE, which is really saying something. It's great to know that Kevin Barry is much more than a gimmick. He's an authentic voice. And he has a real knack for capturing the sense of loss/regret that is ever creeping on the periphery of our lives.
You can expect this one to hit our shores in the fall of 2013.
It drops in April in UK.
Mar 02, 2014 E DB rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to E by: Katy Darby
All of the stories are good, because Kevin Barry has such a deft touch, and a discerning eye (perhaps not least because, according to one interview, he only sends out one in every five stories he writes). Kevin Barry has a way of freshening up topics that are done to death (alcoholic writers, terrorism, serial killers, etc.). There's always a heavy weather in these stories that's built in little turns of phrase ("Beyond the high windows it was darkening, the quick fade of and October day"), and ...more
Great book, full of amazing characters and unexpected scenarios. Although humorous, there was a lot of underlying darkness, making me feel slightly depressed at the circumstances some people find themselves in. However now definitely need to read more of his material.
Barry's last collection, There Are Little Kingdoms, was good but maybe not for all tastes. This one though I'd happily recommend to anybody. Great range and diversity. It's great to see a writer you've been following with interest finally hit his stride.
The tough thing with a colletion of short stories is that if you don't like one or two, it loses a star. But highly recommended nevertheless.
Henry Mclaughlin
Good collection of short stories. Some of the stories ain't so good but the good ones more than compensate.
Nov 11, 2012 Mae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ireland
Fantastic collection of short stories. I could hear the Irish brogue as I read them.
THE most exciting voice in new fiction - beg, buy or borrow. Exhilarating
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Kevin Barry is an Irish writer. He is the author of two collections of short stories, and the novel City of Bohane, which was the winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
More about Kevin Barry...
City of Bohane There are Little Kingdoms: Stories Town and Country: New Irish Short Stories The Shortlist: The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012 Beatlebone

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“in the caravan in the farmyard outside Gort I knew for sure there was no God but there was surely a devil.” 0 likes
“Vivien approached her husband, and embraced him, and planted a light kiss on his neck as they held each other against the darkness. Then she bit him on the neck. Blood came in great, angry spurts. I vomited, briefly, and decided to put on some music.” 0 likes
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