Beatlebone by Kevin Barry - review by Tom Williams

Tom Williams

All You Need Is an Island



Canongate 263pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

In 1967, an island off the west coast of Ireland was put up for sale in a newspaper advertisement. John Lennon sent The Beatles’ trusted assistant, Alistair Taylor, to the auction on his behalf. Taylor secured Dorinish for Lennon for the sum of £1,550. The island offered some of the best pasture in Clew Bay and local sheep farmers had been interested in the opportunities it offered. Lennon dreamed of building a house there.

Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone is a reconstruction of Lennon’s return to the island, aged thirty-seven, in 1978. John is suffering a creative block, struggling with both family life and fame – he worries about invitations to appear on The Muppet Show and is desperate to avoid the ‘paps’ on his trail. When his primal-scream therapist in California tells him he should scream and

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