Short Story Review: Doctor Sot by Kevin Barry

Story Title: Doctor Sot by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: Dark Lies the Island (Jonathan Cape)
Briefly: The aged Doctor Sot suffers from terrible headaches and to dull the pain he continually swigs on naggins of Jamesons whiskey. During a trip to the local Tesco for fresh supplies, he happens upon a party of New Age Travellers. He immediately becomes captivated by one of these people, so much so that he hatches a plan to go and visit the Traveller campsite, which sits in the hills above town.
Afterthoughts: I can’t even begin to describe just how charming I found this story to be. The character of Doctor Sot (real name Carl O’Connor) is warm and endearing (oddly, made all the more so by his mild drunkenness) and his gentlemanly charisma just beams off the page. And in this story is one of the best scenes I’ve yet seen painted by Barry – his description of the New Age Traveller campsite. The story is breathtaking for this scene alone, but Doctor Sot is oh so much more than that. It comes with a closing sentence for instance, that will warm your soul and fill your heart with empathy.

Rating: ★★★★½

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).