Barry, the recent recipient of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, last week spoke to The World – a radio show jointly produced by Public Radio International and the BBC World Service and broadcast coast-to-coast in the US – about three of his favourite reads.
They are James Joyce’s Dubliners, Roberto Bolano’s 2666 and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
The majesty of the prose in Joyce’s Dubliners is what lingers, he says.
As someone who writes short stories myself, when you read the work of this very young man, it’s really terrifying, you know? Because you’re looking for a slip in the rhythm, or the sense, or just an under fit adjective…
The series is labelled “Summer Reads”, but Barry feels the brighter months are a perfect time for darker material:
I often think, if you’re thinking of summer reading, actually in a weird way it’s a good time to tackle the darker stuff, you know?
Do you want to read this stuff in a dark winter’s night with a gale rattling the shutters on your windows? Or is it good to have some sort of light and air and summer light around you? I weirdly read “2666″ on the beach last summer. I’m sure I looked pretty pretentious, but you know in a weird way it worked for that moment, and for that setting.