Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tarry Flynn” as Want to Read:
Tarry Flynn
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tarry Flynn

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A man's mother can be a terrible burden sometimes. For Tarry Flynn - poet, farmer and lover-from-afar of beautiful young virgins - the responsibility of family, farm, poetic inspiration and his own unyielding lust is a heavy one. The only solution is to rise above all - or escape over the nearest horizon.

Like The Green Fool, his autobiography, Patrick Kavanagh's Tarry Flyn
...more
Paperback, 189 pages
Published September 28th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1960)
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 Tarry Flynn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tarry Flynn

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  297 ratings  ·  25 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Tarry Flynn
Richard Moss
Tarry Flynn is Patrick Kavanagh's semi-autobiographical novel about life as a young farmer in a small Irish community.

Tarry Flynn is nearing 30, but is still very much at the beck and call of his mother. His life is rooted in the landscape he farms, but is also about the vain pursuit of young women.

This book is also incredibly rooted in its location, and I know that Irish people I have spoken to find it avery evocative and faithful portrait. Although set in the 1930s and 1940s, the rural communi
...more
Kathryn
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Rarely do you find a book which gives insight into the hopes, fears frustrations aspirations and general worldview of the voiceless, the peasant. Tarry Flynn achieved this.

The world the book depicts is not that long gone, but it is almost entirely gone from Ireland. Nevertheless, anyone with friends or family in Ireland might appreciate this book for the insight it gives into the struggles of their forebears.

Clearly, having ideas, trying to rise up and express what was in your heart, trying to
...more
Simon
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really a fictionalised autobiography, Tarry Flynn is both a loving and critical portrait of rural life in Ireland of the 1930s. Unsentimental books about rural Ireland are definitely more common today, but when Kavanagh was writing they were rare. Rarer still was the book actually critical of the all-powerful institutions of the time, especially of the Church. As such, a contemporary reader of Tarry Flynn might miss some of the power of the book. But, it is a great book, full of beautiful, poeti ...more
Denerick
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Full of earthy wit, colourful characters (Mainly his battleaxe of a mother, his travelling uncle, and his dirty minded neighbour Eusebius) Tarry Flynn is a novel that unravels the role of the church in an insular rural society, the importance of land, land disputes in general, and is also surprisingly raunchy for a 1940s Irish book. My favourite part was the dispute between Tarry and Jimmy Finnegan over two fields, how Tarry gave him one clean punch to floor him, resulting in all kinds of hyster
...more
A. Mary
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-novels
Sometimes, this book is delightfully funny and its protagonist an agonized combination of farmer, poet, and suitor. He is so repressed and lacking in confidence that in spite of his lustful thoughts, he is powerless to propose a formal courtship, to think a worthy woman would find him a worthy man. On top of that, he doubts the virtue of almost every unmarried woman around. He loves the land and everything about it, and he does work the land, but he's just as likely to wax poetic. His world is h ...more
Clodagh
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-fiction
catholic power, s€xual repression, small town begrudgery, the dominant matriarch, her son the golden boy... the unrelenting misery! it can only be... ireland in the rare ould times. told with a wry, satirical outlook on people mixed with poetic romanticism regarding the beauty of The Land. funny and tragic.
Laura Daly
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, touching, funny, fantastic, first read this aged 12 and have re read it dozens of times and it still makes me smile. A treasure from a genius.
Robert
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-novel
This is classic Kavanagh and anyone who enjoys his poetry will enjoy this. The main character is very similar to Kavanagh, they're both small farmers in isolated rural areas who struggle to relate to other people, while having a poetic love for everything around them. The best part of the book is how Kavanagh accurately captures the way people talk and the turns of phrase they use.

Plot isn't a major part of the book, which is more about the atmosphere of the place. This is deliberate because the
...more
Sean
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wonderful picture of a very specific time and place in Irish history. Kavanagh's work is a portrait of loneliness and frustration intermingled with a genuine love for the land.
It's his own A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, an artistic soul struggling to escape his dreary rural life. Timeless in a sense, well worth a read.
Darrell Pendergrass
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tarry Flynn is not a book for every reader - there's a lot of information/stuff/things that you would know only if you're from Ireland, which I am not. With that said, I enjoyed this story very much. Tarry Flynn is a 20-something young man living with his widowed mother and his sisters, on an unsuccessful farm, in a rural area of Ireland. I believe it's on the eastern side of the country, south of Dublin. He longs for love, and physical affection, but he doesn't know how to find it. Tarry strugg ...more
Gemma Williams
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Patrick Kavanagh's novel is about a feckless young farmer with the soul of a poet who spends his days alternately lusting after and fleeing from the local girls. There's a wonderful contrast between the lyrical passages suffused by real love for the land, and Tarry's petty vanities and schemes. Although on one level it seems odd that the sensitive intelligent poet is also such a clumsy, awkward, dishonest and cowardly young man, on another it makes perfect sense and is totally fitting and rings ...more
Gill
Mar 04, 2009 rated it liked it
When you see that Patrick Kavanagh wrote it you think that the whole book is going to be spent extolling the beauty of fields, bogs potatoes etc..


Which is exactly what it does! But it shows the kind of mindset in rural Ireland in those days, and Tarry's personality is kind of how I imagine Patrick Kavanagh might have been.
Eamonn
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing read. kavanagh takes us in to rural life in 1930's with no reservations. He lets loose with poetic prose and black comedy, which makes the whole sorry mess Tarry has to live with, an easier toil. One of my favorite books in ages.
TimsBookCollection
Aug 14, 2016 marked it as book-collection  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xattic_26
Irish Independent Great Irish Writers Series
Rita
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
1948

So sad it was hard to keep reading it. I got about halfway, saw I would not have time to finish before leaving Toronto, so skipped to the last couple chapters to the end.

Apparently Kavanagh was highly valued as a writer in his day. Some other of his books are said to be very good, but if they are as depressing as this one I don't think I am up to them.

The competition over scarce resources in this time and place is appalling, and the resulting bullying [e.g. of the main character Tarry]. Tarr
...more
Asiem Sanyal
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Quite evidently a semi-autobiographical account, Tarry Flynn creates a delightful meander through the Ireland of the 1930s. Through his bucolic prose, Kavanagh vividly conjures an impression of the Irish countryside. It isn't difficult to imagine oneself walking alongside Tarry or Eusebius, minding the farm, leading the cow to be impregnated by the bull, indulging in banal pleasantries. The atmosphere is suffused with the smells and sounds of the country, and little wonder that Tarry is prone to ...more
Dayna
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
It was OK. After reading the description, I thought there would be more, just more. It was just very basic. I was hoping for more intimate details of his struggles.
The description would be more accurate if it read; ‘A tale of Tarry Flynn- farmer and poet. The responsibility of farming, family and his awkwardness with women is tough but not as tough as his mother. His only solution is to rise above or walk away.’
Domhnall
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On the final page, Tarry Flynn produces a stunning poem which sums up the entire novel in an ecstasy. But it would be futile to open the book on its final page; it is necessary [and entirely worthwhile] to read the novel in order to appreciate this.
Cormac Looney
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
It was interesting to re-read this (30 years on) as a novel of emigration. The final pages cast the preceding novel in an interesting light in this respect.
Aisling
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I know some people love these typical Irish books where nothing actually happens, it's just not for me.
Ian
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
To be honest the craic was meh...
Frank O'brien
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Best Irish novel from greatest Irish poet. Funny, sad, and so self-revealing. Mary Reilly, where are you now?
~bookisham
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, university
"women never have got full credit for their bravery. they sacrifice everything to life."

I loved this book so much, the writing was beautiful
Amandine
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Assez simple mais on découvre bien l'esprit de la campagne irlandaise ! (Lu en Irlande)
Olivia
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to like this book but I loved it. It is wonderfully written. I really got to know Tarry and I found myself getting very involved and upset with his story.
James
rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2007
Stevie Hawkins
rated it liked it
Nov 25, 2019
elle
rated it liked it
Jun 12, 2019
Michael
rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2016
shane
rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Amongst Women
  • The Third Policeman
  • She Came to Stay
  • Tender
  • Troubles
  • Devoted Ladies
  • The Commitments (The Barrytown Trilogy, #1; Jimmy Rabbitte, #1)
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia
  • All Will Be Well: A Memoir
  • The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy
  • The Bathroom
  • The Group
  • Diary of a Provincial Lady
  • The Playboy of the Western World & Riders to the Sea
  • Autoportrait
  • Call My Brother Back
  • King Solomon's Mines (Allan Quatermain, #1)
  • The Brownies' Merry Adventures
See similar books…
40 followers
Patrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems "On Raglan Road" and "The Great Hunger". He is known for accounts of Irish life through reference to the everyday and commonplace.

When the Irish Times compiled a list of favourite Irish poems in 2000, ten of his poems were in t
...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
54 likes · 17 comments
“My advice is this, do whatever pleases yourself. These things don’t matter. What does matter is that if you have anything worth while in you, any talent, you should deliver it. Nothing must turn you from that.” 16 likes
“It often occurs to me that we love most what makes us miserable. In my opinion, the damned are damned because they enjoy being damned.” 13 likes
More quotes…