This ain’t an easy read, ya’check me? Irish tossers aren’t easy to comprehend as is, but author Kevin Barry mucks it up further with the concocted west Irish Klingon of dystopian Bohane. What is Bohane? Imagine the Five Points of New York City, but The Priest un-croaked returning to do who knows what to Bill the Butcher.
The book has won some prizes…not Man Booker, but quality awards. However, viewed for the International Space Station, the story is a standard gangster yarn. The protagonist, Bohane’s own Tony Soprano…The Long Fellow, The Albino, Leader of the Harnett Fancy, one Logan Harnett, is feeling it from all sides. Bohane’s old boss, Gant Broderik, is reported to be lurking about town, which is an obvious business and potential health problem on its own, but throw in the fact that Gant is Logan’s wife’s ex and now there are problems at home and the office. An ill-timed shanking also has rival gangs from the Northside Rises out for blood. Logan, short on options, makes a deal with some marginalized devils that want in on Bohane’s rackets, so he at least has a fighting chance. These are the external threats. Internally, there’s intrigue among Logan’s lieutenants and his still powerful 90-year old mother has gone full Uncle Jun by linking up with a female capo that plays every Fancy hardboy like a violin.
If you give it enough time to get down pat with the lingo, it’s a real page turner. If you don’t, you’ll hate it.
P.S. – Barry does rip-off Philip K. Dick’s wardrobe descriptions from Ubik.