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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.
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 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.
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.