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Beatlebone by Kevin Barry

In 1967 John Lennon bought an uninhabited island. 
The story goes that in 1978, he went off the beaten path and took a solitary trip to this island. 
Kevin Barry walks us through the eyes of John Lennon as he is being led to his island by a fellow named Cornelius O' Grady. The story is fictional, of course, but the conversations feel incredibly real. 

It is also these conversations between John and Cornelius that form the crux of what this book is about: the search for a deeper meaning in life. And it's hard not to fall into Cornelius' charm and genuine personality, whose voice projects in a manner that is “very smooth timbre, deep and trustworthy like a newscaster.”

"Would you be a saddish kind of man, John?
He answers in all the truth he can muster --
As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever been happier.
Then what is wrong with you?
I suppose I'm afraid. 
Afraid of what? 
That all this happiness is going to rot my f*#$% brain. 
Cornelius grins, stretches and rises." 

Whether it's true or not, glimpses into what was happening in John Lennon's life have been beautifully captured by Kevin Barry. 

In one conversation he talks to Cornelius about how he's been approached to do The Muppets three times. Cornelius responds by saying they had Elton John a few weeks prior and he was great. Even after Cornelius' assurance, John Lennon is still reluctant and thinks that it's will be too whimsical. But the conversation evolves. 

"What harm in it?
It might take you out of yourself, John.
I suppose it might." 

This is the way the conversations in Beatlebone go. Cornelius plays the part of the psychoanalyst, helping John figure out things in his life. As the layers of John Lennon are peeled apart, exposing a vulnerable man behind the legend, we experience wonderful storytelling where fiction and fact fuse with delightful intrigue.

"The title comes through with first light. He makes carefully with a finger the letters of the word in the white sand.  
b e a t l e b o n e  
and this is what he knows for sure:heard once it will haunt f*#$% you"

This echoes my thoughts on the Kevin Barry's novel.


Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle)