This week, I attended the book launch and reading at Foyles for Kevin Barry's new novel, Night Boat to Tangier. Barry read some incredible extracts and answered great questions posed to him by Max Porter.
When discussing the ways in which memories and perspectives change after one reaches the age of 50, Barry made the statement that the past itself is unstable. I thought this was an extremely fascinating insight into the ways in which we interpret our experiences and how we allow them to form ourselves and also, how we allow our memories to change in order to dictate further personal development or to adhere to narratives of our lives and experiences that we choose or convince ourselves of.
He also mentioned how many of his writing projects start with a place and the mood or atmosphere that derives from location and referred to "fields with feelings and street corners with stories". This really spoke to my continued interest in the concept of 'atmosphere'.
Lastly, I was intrigued by his assertion that when writing, the more local something feels, the more it will have universal resonance, and that a work can't be local enough. This comes across very strongly in his plot: placing two men from the west of Ireland in Spain as they await the arrival of a ferry from Tangier.
I've now begun reading Night Boat to Tangier this week and have continued to derive pleasure from inhabiting Barry's seductive fictionalised tale. Highly recommend!