Short Story Review: ‘A Cruelty’ by Kevin Barry

Story Title: ‘A Cruelty’ by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: Dark Lies the Island (Jonathan Cape)
Briefly: Donie has a simple routine. He takes the 09:33 train from Boyle to Sligo on every working day of the week, where he has lunch by the river Garavogue before returning to Boyle on the midday train. One day his rigid routine becomes upset.
Afterthoughts: What I perhaps most love about Kevin Barry is his ability to nail characters perfectly. Donie clearly has learning difficulties (or maybe autism would be a more accurate term), and Barry has painted the lad’s condition perfectly, right down to the intricacies of his obsessions and quirks. I adore this story even if it is a little sad overall, and my affection for Donie is such that one would think it were a real person who I knew personally. What a most gifted storyteller Barry is.

Rating: ★★★★★

This story was read as part of a review of Kevin Barry’s latest short story collection, Dark Lies the Island. If you want to find out more about the book, or you want to read other reviews from this collection, then I invite you to pop along to my forethoughts post for this title. I also invite you to take a trip over to the publisher page for this title.

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).