Short Story Review: ‘Fjord of Killary’ by Kevin Barry

Story Title: ‘Fjord of Killary’ by Kevin Barry
Collection/Anthology?: Dark Lies the Island (Jonathan Cape)
Briefly: We join the staff and patrons at the Water’s Edge Hotel on the fjord of Killary, as a particularly persistent rainstorm threatens to engulf the remote rural sanctuary.
Afterthoughts: This story has been featured on The New Yorker website forever, and yet I’ve never gotten around to reading it. I’m glad I’ve put it off until now though because not only has it brightened up my afternoon, but I’m also reading it in the context of this collection where it really does seems to fit in so well.

Throwing together as he often does, a ragtag bunch of characters with copious amounts of booze (take Breakfast Wine from Barry’s debut collection as another example), Barry has created in Fjord of Killary a story that entertains and captivates to the fullest measure.

It’s a story that teems with so much vibrancy and life that it feels as though it’s set to burst at the seams at any moment (quite appropriate given the feeling of impending doom that permeates the prose), yet it never feels overwhelming.

Through reading so many of Kevin Barry’s stories I’ve come to learn that he does two things extraordinarily well – characters and dialogue. Both of these ‘super powers’ are clearly evident in Fjord of Killary. It’s an absolute triumph.

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).