Kevin Barry’s collection of short stories, “That Old Country Music” is, in its own way, a gem. Although the subjects of the stories are often serious and sombre (e.g. teenage pregnancy, abandonment, failed love), Barry handles his material with such subtlety that at times you perhaps can’t help but wonder if the tone isn’t a little too ‘light’.
But this does make the collection eminently readable.
One could easily be tempted to argue that the real star of the collection is Eire; the ‘Irishness’ of the landscape and its characters soaked into every page. Barry isn’t Joyce obviously, but I was reminded just a little of “Dubliners”.
If you’d like an ‘easy read’, then you could do lot worse than “That Old Country Music” – and you might even find yourself devouring it in a single sitting.