Later, At the Bar by Rebecca Barry – Review

I really enjoyed “Later, at the Bar” by Rebecca Barry. Thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had to compare it to something, the first thing that comes to mind is the equally enjoyable “Trailerpark” by Russell Banks. Like Banks’s collection, “Later,” is populated with a litany of failed relationships and people searching for connections while, in the end, finding themselves largely alone.

I think it is this loneness that fuels the novel. Everyone is either attempting to pull their great love from a stool at the bar, in the process of scattering the beginning embers of a fire of relationship, or recovering from the cold they find themselves left in when everything goes to hell. This could be a recipe for disaster. Moving from love affair to love affair, having the losers lament their lack of love, it would be easy to slip into a world of hyperbole or melodrama.

Barry avoids this trap, though. Instead, she stands back, lets the characters go where they will, and the entire work finds a kind of balance because of it. You sympathize with the characters without them ever doing anything that would seem out of character or especially larger than life. These characters are not heroes nor are they villains. They are just people trying to get along the best they can.

Edit: Alright, I’ve had this review kicking around my saved bin since May and I just need to clean the cupboards a bit and get this posted. This isn’t the best review, I’m not going to twitter it, but I really enjoyed this book. I think most people will, too. It’s very well done, just give it a chance.

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