Kevin Barry – Beatlebone


For the past five minutes I have been deleting and re-writing sentences for this review. Sure I can say that this book is great, especially if you are a fan of The Beatles and experimental literature but somehow that does not cut it.

Beatlebone’s appeal is by many things. For starters the language used is poetic. Think of short sentences stuffed with puns and Beatles references. Then there’s a the plot. John Lennon is visiting one of the islands (in reality he did have an island of his own) he owned in order to get his creative juices running and to escape society. ). The rest of the book is divided into certain set pieces. There’s a part in a hotel, another in a pub and the main theme that emerges is that age can change you – in a good or bad way. Throughout the book we get snippets of Lennon’s life and need for solitude thus tying up the island as a metaphor thread nicely.

The centrepiece of the book though, is when author Kevin Barry has a section, where he talks about the inspiration behind Beatlebone and his attempt to recreate John Lennon’s visits to his private island. Is this meaning that author and character are the same thing but shouldn’t be? This is the only part of the book which is written

In all Beatlebone is a brilliant book. Does it help to be a Beatles fan? yes but don’t let it be a detraction.