Story Title: ‘Across the Rooftops’ by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: Dark Lies the Island (Jonathan Cape)
Briefly: It’s the dawning of a new day and the narrator sits post-party on the rooftops overlooking the city, with a girl he clearly cares about. He ponders moving in for a first kiss.
Afterthoughts: The opening story to Barry’s new collection is a short one, but it’s as good as any other I’ve read of his. This one captures perfectly that awkward moment when a young man is on the cusp of a new relationship – one he clearly cares about – when he’s unsure about making a move should he blow everything. We’re not talking full-on sexual encounter here, but rather the first kiss that either confirms a relationship or destroys it. I shan’t tell you how it works out, but I will say that I loved this story’s subtlety, because it’s more about delicate body language than anything else. I also loved the story’s rooftop setting. Aside from anything else, it made everything feel all the more intimate.
I laughed out loud at this story too, because a seagull with a mad look in its eyes makes an appearance. They fellows have turned up in Barry’s stories before, in Burn the Bad Lamp, and in his novel, City of Bohane for instance, and Barry clearly has an affection for them . I wonder if their a motif, or a kind of ‘hidden’ signature?
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.