• That Old Country Music

  • Stories
  • By: Kevin Barry
  • Narrated by: Kevin Barry
  • Length: 3 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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That Old Country Music  By  cover art

That Old Country Music

By: Kevin Barry
Narrated by: Kevin Barry
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Publisher's Summary

A collection of short stories of rural Ireland in the classic Irish mode: full of love (and sex), melancholy and magic, bedecked in some of the most gorgeous prose being written today — from the author of the wildly acclaimed Night Boat to Tangier.

With three novels and two short story collections published, Kevin Barry has steadily established his stature as one of the finest writers not just in Ireland but in the English language. All of his prodigious gifts of language, character, and setting in these 11 exquisite stories transport the listener to an Ireland both timeless and recognizably modern. Shot through with dark humor and the uncanny power of the primal and unchanging Irish landscape, the stories in That Old Country Music represent some of the finest fiction being written today.

©2021 Kevin Barry (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

One of NPR's Best Books of the Year

Named a most anticipated book of the year by Vulture, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Post, Literary Hub, The Millions, and more 

"Barry brilliantly evokes both the good and bad sides of love, and does so with stunningly gorgeous writing.... There's not an aspect of writing that Barry doesn't excel at. His dialogue rings true, and he's amazingly gifted at scene-setting - he evokes both the landscape of western Ireland and the landscape of the human heart beautifully." (NPR) 

"I had to quit reading this book the first day I had it in my hands, just so I could have it to read the next day. It's that good." (Richard Ford) 

“Coarse and lyrical, arresting and often hilarious. There are verbal titillations and delights on nearly every page, but also an undertow of sorrow.... Barry’s old country music cuts deep into the reader’s heart.” (Washington Post)

What listeners say about That Old Country Music

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking

These short stories are gems. I am rationing my time with this audiobook, to savor each story. I normally avoid stories read by the author, in favor of Audible's professional narrators. In this case, I can't imagine anyone other than Kevin Barry bringing these stories to life. His pacing is perfect & his pronunciation of Irish words adds much to the performance. I plan to listen again while reading a hard copy of this book. It's interesting to listen to a male protagonist's point of view. I will follow this author & look forward to reading more of his work.

3 people found this helpful

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Ox Mountain music

I’ve walked in the Ox Mountains near my grandfather’s place in Sligo and felt something pull me to the stone ruins of a farm. A stream ran through it past bent and gnarled trees. I was bewitched and didn’t want to leave. The story of the old man and the Roma girl put me right back there. Every story conjured up a person or place or feeling I had there. I want to go back to Mayo and Donegal as much as I want to read everything Kevin Barry has written.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Tales Beautifully Narrated

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for an Irish Brogue. I can listen to an Irish man or woman read the Telephone Book (You Old Folks will understand!). These stories, particularly when told in that accent create a mood that is so warm and comforting, like a string quartet or a ballad sung by an Irish Tenor in front of a fireplace. Absolutely gorgeous!

But like so many beautiful ballads, the lyrics are often melancholy and so are many of these stories. Love and loss, but love. A lot of love. I particularly liked Roma Kid, but all of these are some of the finest fiction you’ll read today. I don’t read a lot of short stories but I definitely recommend this book. Four Stars.

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Fantastic

Fully immersed. Excellent writing. The narration elevates the already good stories and I like the order of them.

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So very random

I struggled to finish it. And honestly I fast forwarded through two of the chapters. The stories seemed mostly random except for a few commonalities. Even those commonalities seem to be grasping for the most extreme, strangest part of each story. So, therefore...random to me. Although trying to understand the characters in each story, I have no point of reference for the setting so that's probably why I struggled with this book. The characters complex personalities went very deep for such short stories. I never had a chance to begin to understand the character before moving to the next story.
The narration is too whispery and intense for me. The cadence of his voice caused me to go to sleep at times.