*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Author: Kevin Barry
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.
Beatlebone is a surreal and whirlwind story of John Lennon and the purchase of an Island in 1978. John wants to visit the island to escape and this is the story of how he gets there. Lead by a Cornelius O’Grady, John is directed off track to another island where he ends up staying at the Amethyst Hotel. He partakes in Primary Scream Therapy to confront the suppressed feelings of his past to free himself of all that’s weighing him down. This strange and wonderful story confronts John’s mental state and his struggle with his situation. He’s trying to write and trying to make music, but he can’t get himself in a place where he is able to write.
Within this story, we hear a bit from the author. A chapter mid-book gives the author his voice in the midst of this odd tale. The author is free for a moment to speak on the history, to provide a back story and to catch us up to speed on John’s story. The author provides pictures of the Amethyst hotel, bringing his world to life in front of our eyes. We are able to see the place where he sets fictional-Lennon’s story. Barry uses his metafictive interjection to expand on the world he’s created, to give the reader context and share insights with us. It grounds the rest of the story. Barry’s chapter creates a solid footing in a free-flowing story. Outside of this chapter, the conversation, the thoughts, flow like music, rising and falling with each swell of emotion.
This is an excellent and absurd novel. It’s creative and brilliant. I highly recommend it!