Monday, 21 November 2011

City of Bohane

Title: City of Bohane

Author: Kevin Barry

Number of pages: 277

Started: 16 November 2011

Finished: 21 November 2011

Opening words:

Whatever’s wrong with us is coming in off that river. No argument: the taint of badness on the city’s air is a taint off that river. This is the Bohane river we’re talking about. A blackwater surge, malevolent, it roars in off the Big Nothin’ wastes and the city was spawned by it and was named for it: city of Bohane.

He walked the docks and breathed in the sweet badness of the river. It was past midnight on the Bohane front. There was an evenness to his footfall, a slow calm rhythm of leather on stone, and the dockside lamps burned in the night-time a green haze, the light of a sad dream. The water’s roar for Hartnett was as the rushing of his own blood and as he passed the merchant yards the guard dogs strung out a sequence of howls all along the front. See the dogs: their hackles heaped, their yellow eyes livid. We could tell he was coming by the howling of the dogs.

Plot summary:

Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and on the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that the city really lives. For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air: they say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchman are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight... And then there's his mother.

What I thought:

I was not a fan of this book at all. I didn’t like the writing style, I didn’t enjoy the plot. I read it all because it is on the Costa Awards shortlist and it seemed a shame to give up on the first one. Not a book I would recommend.

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