Title: ‘Party at Helen’s’ by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: There Are Little Kingdoms (Stinging Fly Press)
Date Read: 10 September 2010
Briefly: This story settles on a particular house party playing out on a Saturday night/Sunday morning in an old backstreet house in the middle of Galway.
Afterthoughts: If I had to describe this story in one word, then that word would be ‘busy’. There’s an awful lot going on in this story, but this is more to do with people rather than action. While reading, it feels as though Barry is wandering around his engineered house party with a hand-held movie camera, ‘filming’ characters for prosperity as he happens upon them. This all makes it sound rather random and manic, and to a point it certainly is. However, Barry ‘records’ his characters with such profound depth, that you can’t help but sit and contemplate over them. If Kevin Barry has a repository in his head for storing characters, then I think it must look an awful lot like Helen’s Party. What a privilege it is for Kevin Barry to have given us a sneaky peek inside.
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.