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Kevin Barry quotes
I've had lots of people saying very nice things about the work. But I genuinely feel in the course of a writing career you're going to have people say very nice things and some not-so-nice things, and if at all possible you should try to ignore both.
At one point I would read nothing that was not by the great American Jews - Saul Bellow, Philip Roth - which had a disastrous effect of making me think I needed to write the next great Jewish American novel. As a ginger-haired child in the West of Ireland, that didn't work out very well, as you can imagine.
Get up, groan, write a bit, moan, eat breakfast, write some more, cycle my bike through the Sligo hills, make up country songs as I pedal along, sing them, have lunch, have a nap, groan, moan, write a small bit more, cook dinner, feed wifey, open a bottle, or several, slump, sleep.
I remember, as a child, a particular groan that my father would sound when he crawled from the bed in the morning. I hear the same groan now, precisely, every morning, when I emerge from my own lair. It's more than an expression of physical weariness - it's an aching of the soul. Even the groans get passed down.
I was a cub reporter on a local newspaper in Limerick city, and I used to cover the district court meetings. All of life passed through the Limerick courthouse. Misery, malevolence, the dark side of humanity... I tell ya, it made 'Angela's Ashes' look like 'The Wonderful World of Disney.'
In my very early days as a journalist, as a cub reporter on a local newspaper, I used to cover the district courthouse in Limerick city - all human life passed through that establishment, and my time there remains a source of inspiration.
In the early nineties, I was a cub reporter on a city newspaper in Limerick, and assigned to the courthouse there. One day, an old detective sergeant came and whispered to me in the press pit. He pointed out a young offender, a teenager who was up for stealing a car or something relatively minor, and said, 'See this kid? He'll kill.'
Irish writing is so strong that it can feel like the country has all been covered, but in fact, there are so many gaps. The small west of Ireland cities and the working classes there have almost never appeared in Irish literature, simply because those communities were never in the way of producing books.
One of the things I've been most excited by is U.S. television drama. For my money, it's some of the greatest narrative art of our time. Each series is like a 19th-century Russian novel: you need to do a lot of work in the first few episodes, just as you do in the first 50-60 pages of those books.