Short Story Review: Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry

Story Title: Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: Dark Lies the Island (Jonathan Cape)
Briefly: As Sara stays alone at her father’s summer house, she fights the demons inside. She’s a self harmer, and despite having much to be positive about, she’s feeling lower on this night than she has for months.
Afterthoughts: And so we come to the titular story in Kevin Barry’s latest collection, and this is the saddest tale of the lot. There are no laughs to be had in Dark Lies the Island, only gloom and desperation. But then again how could any writer sew a seam of humour into a story with a theme that’s so sad and despairing?

Barry paints a sense of loneliness and vulnerability in the story’s self-harming main character to such an extraordinary depth (he amplifies the mood magnificently through the surroundings and the weather), that he shows in the space of one short story, just how deftly he can turn his pen to the darker and more affecting side of fiction writing.

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).