‘Breakfast Wine’ by Kevin Barry

Title: ‘Breakfast Wine’ by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: There Are Little Kingdoms (Stinging Fly Press)
Date Read: 12 September 2010
Briefly: At the The North Star bar it’s business as usual. All fine and well except business as usual at the North Star bar means the only punters taking up places are alcoholics Brendan, and his cousin Thomas. Regardless, North Star licensee Mr. Kelliher perseveres. Settling in for the usual afternoon of drinking, the everyday routine of the three men is about to get upset.
Afterthoughts: I adore this tale from Barry, not least because it gives a wonderful snapshot of life in a dead-to-the-world country pub. I also love how Barry takes full advantage of the peaceful and uneventful nature of the pub to bring out highlights from events that would not normally be seen as such i.e. the mingling together of the ‘brown and cream notes’ in the stout placed before the customers, the half past three ‘fiesta’ of schoolchildren walking past outside at the end of the school day. Barry also expertly brings out little nuances and subtleties in character and surroundings, which only adds all the more to mood and setting. Genius!

Rating: ★★★★☆

This story was read as part of a review of Kevin Barry’s short story collection, There Are Little Kingdoms. If you want to find out more about this collection then I invite you to either visit my ‘forethoughts’ post, or to pop along to the product page for the collection, on the publisher’s website.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).