Barry rides high on epic western
Sebastian Barry ship with his boyfriend.
“Maybe because they are of the same gender, they know things about each other, the physics, the inner knowledge of the heart and soul. They are attentive to each other in an almost mathematical way,” he said.
ago to grapple with the “historical tragedy of an Irish person, essentially an aboriginal, being forced to go to America, joining the US Army and taking part in the destruction of the Native American people, who were not unlike himself.” But he abandoned the novel. The legendary chronicler of the West, Peter Matthiessen, the author of “The Snow Leopard,” offered to help. “’Come talk to me when the smoke clears,’ he told me,” Barry said.
“I never did and when he died I thought, ‘I have to do it now.’”
The book, Barry said, is partly a plea to “our lovely American friends about accepting that their country is founded on a genocide,” as Matthiessen long insisted.
“It’s not blaming, it’s psychiatric. It’s just good for mental health,” Barry argued.
Yet, his book could not be more American in that its great themes are survival and redemption, despite the worst that humans can do.
But Barry laughed off “some people calling it a great American novel written by an Irishman.”
“Sometimes you go to New York and you get discovered, then they rediscover you again 20 years later. The literary memory is short, and it is not surprising, given the endless freight train of books that get published,” he said.
“Still, it’s a lovely feeling that the circus just doesn’t want you for a weekend,” he added. A copy of “Days Without End” in a local bookstore