- 12 Jul 19
The Waiting Is The Hardest Part
Like a couple of Beckettian tramps, with “old weather on their faces”, Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond sit on a bench in the Algeciras Ferry terminal watching and waiting and waiting for Maurice’s daughter, Dilly. Like Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman narrator, they seem doomed to endlessly return to the same police station.
Two Cork headers at the wrong end of a life of drug dealing and drug taking, they wait and wait as Barry takes us back into Maurice’s past, moving around Europe with Dilly’s mother Cynthia, attempting to wash their dirty money, one step ahead of violent payback from their narcotic competitors and Hearne’s demons. Crime, in this instance at least, has most certainly not paid. Marked out as bad eggs from their first encounter with a hapless traveller in the terminal, there seems scant hope of anything as trite as a Hollywood-style volte-face. Some great moral awakening is unlikely. These are damaged souls.
There’s your plot but the real meat when dealing with Kevin Barry is the language, as was the case with previous novels City Of Bohane and Beatlebone, and if you haven’t read them yet, go to the shop and do yourself a favour. His gifts would make anyone who has ever even held a pen tremble with envy, whether it be the character’s dialogues, his descriptive powers, or just phrases like “There is a stab of awareness at the beginning and end of love” or “The same as each or any of us is made of, all the words we have whispered in the night, and all the promises betrayed.” There is poetry in this prose. A great writer doing some great writing.