City of Bohane
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

City of Bohane

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,416 ratings  ·  292 reviews
The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees. Infested by vice and split along triballines, there are still some posh parts of town but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and the eerie bogs of Big Nothin� that the city really lives. For years, Bohane has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartn...more
Audio CD
Published April 25th 2012 by Bolinda Audio (first published March 31st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about City of Bohane, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about City of Bohane

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
karen
i do not know if you will like this book.

usually, i am pretty good with the readers' advisory thing - i have this innate sense that automatically provides me with a list of names of people i think would appreciate the book, even if i didn't like it myself. call it a gift.

but this one - i am genuinely at a loss. i know that i liked it, but i also know that i am a little bit damaged from having read it. like my brain has been mooshed a little and i have had a hard time readjusting.

so it takes pla...more
Bennet
Dec 29, 2012 Bennet rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bennet by: Vheissu
Shelves: novels-stories
The language dazzled and taunted and tempted till the end, but I can't call the story or the ending satisfying. For all the detailing, much was not developed that could have been, and without a lot more effort, which, it seems to me, would have made this a better story.

It's a new book, just out this year, but I don't feel like explaining what it's about and will just insert the book blurb for those who are curious but don't want to refer back to it: Thirty or so years in the future. The once-gre...more
Ali
Unusual and memorable bog-soaked poetry of a small Irish city filled with whores, gamblers, criminals, lonely hearts, and every other kind of down-and-outer. It's a city where whoever schemes the best lives the longest, and you can't trust anyone. It's a city that breaks people.

Like drinking whiskey on a wintery day in a room with no heat, no light, and two-inch gapes between each wooden wall plank, Barry's book will shake you. It's a silent, desperate bellowing yellow to the moon. And it's also...more
Ethel Rohan
Kevin Barry is a genius. He is doing with his life and his gift exactly what he was put on this earth to do and continues the long and great line of Irish writers. His debut novel City of Bohane is an original and remarkable work of inventiveness.

Set in the fictional and futuristic city of Bohane, somewhere in the West of Ireland in 2053, this is a dark and harrowing tale that is at turns horrific and stunning. For all the memorable and well-dressed characters, gripping plot twists, and brillian...more
Casey
I love this book so far. The language in both the dialogue and the narration is fantastic. It just pops.
And there's a lot of really meaty subject matter going on- Revenge, love, growing old, legacies... Awesome.

Also, I promise that my endorsement of this book is not affected by the fact that Graywolf is publishing the US edition in March 2012. Honest. This book is straight legit. I am, however, super excited that we're going to be publishing the US edition in March 2012.

***Update***

The end of th...more
Rob Kitchin
Kevin Barry is well known for his short stories. He has a vivid imagination and is an excellent wordsmith, crafting some lovely, expressive prose. City of Bohane has received high praise from some of Ireland’s literary stars such as Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor and Hugo Hamilton. I therefore had high expectations for Barry’s first novel. With the exception of the prose and some of the characterisation, for me, it failed to deliver. For the most part, the characters are difficult to identify with...more
Steve
I picked up City of Bohane expecting a book of gang warfare, of violent dystopian action perhaps in the expected mode of such stories (think Gangs of New York) in which events build to an brutal, climactic showdown. But City of Bohane isn't that book, it's far more than that, and reducing it "just" bloody violence would be a shame.

Though there is plenty of violence, and more often the threat of it, that's not the point. Those scenes are often deemphasized when they arrive, overshadowed by the lo...more
Owen Curtsinger
While reading this book I was reminded of what it's like to read William Gibson's Neuromancer for the first time. At first it's a little unclear what the meat of the story is, but if you just hang on and let the rhythm and cadence of the prose take you for a ride, you will find yourself in a new and fascinating place. And what a place; Bohane is a weird and wild mash-up of Jamaican shanty-towns, Soviet tenements, and Little Italy and Chinatown. It's true that the plot and characters are lacking...more
Janet
Profane, cinematic, hilarious, elegiac, brutal, poetic, original. I found City of Bohane to be all these things and more. The language is amazing. It took me a chapter or two to adjust to the vernacular Kevin Barry's characters employ, but it was well worth the effort. (You can view the author reading from the book at http://vimeo.com/28112291)

At the center of the story is the struggle between rival gangs for control of the Irish city of Bohane, but there are also several fascinating subplots i...more
Ian Young
“Tricky the paths a long love might follow, like the spiral down twists of a raindrop on a windowpane.” Kevin Barry's first novel is underpinned by the story of such a love, but distinguished by its swagger and vitality.

The City of Bohane is somewhere in the West of Ireland in the distant future, an Ireland that is real yet warped and seen through a dirty and distorted lens. The language of the book reflects the vision of the City – it too is bent and twisted, mixed with partly real, partly imag...more
Zoeytron
What a tasty feast this was! I suspect this book will either be devoured with great relish or it will have you demanding to be excused from the table - pronto. Be prepared for something different from almost any other book you might pick up to read. A fresh idea, what a novelty!

As the story opens, the city 'had taken to the winter like an old dog to its blanket'. Bohane is over-run with street gangs. The reader will need to hang tough with the street jargon and just roll with it. Context is kin...more
Sarah
Stupendous. A broken, tainted, nostalgic West-of-Ireland city thrashing and smoldering as it remembers the 'lost-time', Bohane is tribal, brutal, fashion-conscious (velveteen puffa jackets and vinyl brothel-creepers), sentimental, full of heart and completely heartless. The language is pure energy, the characters are vivid and real and the story is timeless. It seems that when it all breaks down, we will be mediaeval once again, writhing, dreaming and plotting in a real human society, face to fa...more
Joe
The NY Times review was laudatory for this debut novel praising it for its originality and beauty of language. After reading it, I could not agree more. Kevin Barry belongs in a top row of authors who use the language as if it were an instrument. The shimmering prose dances across the page in rhythmic pirouettes brightening everything it touches. Imagine Mad Max with its strange characters and unique dress in a futuristic time in a ravaged, deranged city in Ireland.
I've often thought of people l...more
Trina
As I said in my recent review for ForeWord Magazine, this novel reminded me of the West Side Story, with the Jets and the Sharks replaced by rival gangs from the bogs and gorsey wilds of western Ireland. It's set in the futuristic 2054, but could just as easily be 1954 given the fluidity of time and the nostalgia for long ago when Gant had the running of the Back Trace, a labyrinth of streets filled with grog shops, noodle joints, fetish parlours, needle alleys, dream salons, and power haunts. B...more
Linda Anne Smith
This is a book that you will either love or hate. I did both!!!
I read the first 2 chapters and really struggled with them, both in terms of the language (very broad Irish dialect and patois) and also just trying to find something - character or story - to start building the reading experience from. To be honest, if it wasn't for the fact that i "had to" read it for Book Club, I would not have persevered with this book. So I started again, and re-read the beginning, and kept going second-time ar...more
Matthew Geyer
Kevin Barry is going to be somebody. That's what I thought when I read his apocalyptic short story in The New Yorker, Fjord of Killary, a year or two ago. This sent me searching the web, where I found his previous short story collection, There Are Little Kingdoms, available from a small Irish literary press by way of an independent overseas bookseller. Kevin Barry already is somebody, I thought when I read those tales: He's an heir to William Trevor, like Banville and Toibin. But this one's ten...more
T.R.
As a high school teacher, I'm taking a summer class on on teaching reading and we reviewed a list of the 'pleasures of reading.' And the first two had to do with the pleasure associated with knowing the correspondences between letters and sounds and the pleasure of the sounds themselves as you read aloud. Barry's novel, for all it's atmosphere and impact in the literary circles, reminds me of those first two pleasures. Barry is mostly known as a short story writer, and it shows. On each page the...more
Tom Heavey
On my first attempt to read COB I was initially impressed by the poetic prose. Three chapters later I realised the majority sentences are simply lifted directly from local dialect with little artistic input. I laid the book down: returning recently after the IMPAC award hoping to uncover the error in my ways.

My discomfort with the borrowed patois remained as it pervaded, adding little substance; although those unfamiliar with the Limerick dialect may gain value from its novelty. Where Barry's s...more
katie
At first I loved it. The language, the dialogue is amazing, and really new, as in not like anything I have read before. I did find fault with the story line, the twist seemed ridiculous. So the plot couldn't carry the good language, because for me the language even got tired, because it did not evolve, and the weak plot left it stagnant. The stereotypes, the misogyny, the bad mouthing all just started to feel vacuous.
The author, clearly, has a gifted ear for sound and language. But he isn't ver...more
Bill
I picked up City of Bohane in a flea market for £2 - an absolute STEAL considering how much I enjoyed it.

It's a tricky read to begin with, Barry wastes no time plunging you into his richly imagined Bohane and I sometimes struggled to understand the odd dialect of the cities natives. However, I persevered and I was soon hooked - I devoured the book over the course of a long weekend in Wales, and I heavily recommend setting aside a day or two just to read it all in one go - it requires that degree...more
Lori
I ate this book ravenously, despite my ongoing [fruitless] effort to go slowly, so I could linger with the delicious sentences. It was an utter delight, from beginning to end, and even though I know I missed so much of the subtlety because I know no Irish slang, it made me laugh and wince and flinch and feel the longing. I just finished it and am starting it again, right now.

I wish I could write a more sophisticated review, identify flaws and weaknesses, but I can't. I loved everything about thi...more
Nina
This was really unlike anything I've ever read. A fictional city with a bad reputation, run by gangs of various sorts, in what seems like the middle of nowhere (Big Nothin'). The "governing" Authority tries to keep the peace to the extent necessary to get a tram (from the Nation Beyond) to run to Bohane, but the police (polis) literally turn away from crime between/amongst Bohanians as its happening. The language challenged me until I grew accustomed to it, and then I felt like I knew some sort...more
Eoin Conroy
heed this, my fiends my tushies, my gullible children: There was nothing good coming in off that river

Going through post-apocalyptic books, (also TV shows, films, comics, but let's just stick with books), you can't help but feel it's all very America-centric. Well, if you're American this is probably not an issue, but as an Irish person this has always made me feel that our country is out of the equation. This is to be expected of course, since after all, isn't America the big daddy of the mode...more
T. Edmund
Set in the future (or at least in a place that believes 2053 has long past) The City of Bohane is a brutal place run by gangsta Irish, and their 'hoors'

In this future, or alternative universe, language is much changed. For some this will mean an original refreshing novel, for some (myself) this will mean a confusing mash of bizarre prose and difficult to follow plot.

While an obvious comparison is made to A Clockwork Orange, Barry fails to achieve the same level of moral, political and personal c...more
zxvasdf
Bohane, a city on the Irish coast fed by a sick black river, is crime ridden. But... how can we call it crime if it is just a way of life? When everyone is actively engaged in a monstrous caricature of humanity, the dark manifesting in feints of genteel respectability? It's hard to see what value the Bohanites hold upon anything other than irrepressible self indulgence. Smoke and drink and carnality, amongst others is just parts in a day. People are people, they say, but the people of Bohane hav...more
Vivian Valvano
Barry, who has already made a name for himself via his short stories, has written a smashing first novel. It's placed in the future, around 2050s, in the fictional city of Bohane (pronounced with second syllable rhyming with "on" - I heard Barry read from the novel in Montreal), on the west coast of Ireland. Alas, some measures of apocalypse have lain waste to the once great place. Most of the city is now composed of slums, and there is Smoketown, the decrepit tower blocks known as the North Ris...more
James Murphy
The city of Bohane is a rough neighborhood. It's a dystopian city on the west coast of Ireland in a time about 40 years in the future. Its citizens have gone to seed. There's little municipal control or services. Vice reigns as various tribes and chieftains compete for dominance.

As fiction, it's a language novel. If the city isn't the central character the language is. The people of Bohane speak a kind of noir street talk made up of high slang and dialect which carries both the rhythms of Irish...more
Garrie
Jan 06, 2013 Garrie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was really hoping this book would warrant 5 stars. I've read Mr Barry's collection of short stories Dark Lies the Island and was genuinely thrilled and enthralled by all of the stories in it so I had high hopes for this. Someone has described The City of Bohane as James Joyce writes Sin City and that's a pretty fair description. Barry certainly has a way with lyricism and imagery that lives with you long after you've finished reading but unlike his short stories I found the ending flat and ver...more
Susan Malone
This is one of those books that I wanted to just rave about. And about much of it, I can. The prose is luscious, even with the difficult-to-read dialect. The characters, truly well drawn and differentiated. And I'm such a fan of what Graywolf Press puts out, relishing that a small press still exists to publish great literature (which they do).

This novel is set in a time forty years in the future, and that future does indeed look bleak. Although it's the people who play the biggest part in that...more
Lynn
This is a novel that should be read aloud with gusto. In a growling, tilting, rolling Irish brogue; three parts menace to every one part twinkle-in-the-eye. The language, the cadence, the poetry is unique and seductive. It’s visual and visceral. The language pulled me through “The City of Bohane” the way the fictional Bohane River darkly, sinuously, inexorably winds its way through the unredeemable city built on bluffs.

It’s a simple story. A violent story. A story as old as tribal warfare. The s...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Irish Readers: Nomination 1 11 Nov 25, 2013 09:39AM  
Irish Readers: Quarterly Irish Reads Suggestion March 2012 1 22 Feb 10, 2012 05:40AM  
  • Almost Never
  • Long Time, No See
  • Mistaken
  • The Spinning Heart
  • At Last
  • Solace
  • That They May Face The Rising Sun
  • Gods Without Men
  • Fobbit
  • The Right-Hand Shore
  • A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States
  • On an Irish Island
  • On Canaan's Side
  • The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am
  • Winterwood
  • By Blood
  • Hawthorn & Child
  • Collected Poems
Dark Lies the Island There are Little Kingdoms: Stories Town and Country: New Irish Short Stories The Shortlist: The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012 Beer Trip to Llandudno

Share This Book

“Tricky the paths a long love might follow, like the spiral down twists of a raindrop on a windowpane.” 4 likes
“One might trouble one's dainty snout with a whiff of the taleggio displayed in an artisanal cheese shop, or take a saucer of jasmine tea and a knuckle of fennel-scented snuff at a counter of buffed Big Nothing granite. But there was a want in these ladies yet, and it was for the rude life of youth.” 3 likes
More quotes…