Runaway lovers: The Heart in Winter, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

Watching Kevin Barry’s progress over the years has been a pleasure. His first novel, City of Bohane, flamboyant with tribal vernacular and savagery, was followed by Beatlebone, a beguiling surreal odyssey, and then Night Boat to Tangier, where two tired old crims wait and talk their way through the dark hours. Escaping Beckett’s long shadow, the vigil had a hint of redemption. Never has the lawless life been depicted with such wry sweetness.  What Barry celebrates above all is language, swooping from desolation to deadpan mirth in a phrase. Pain that lies too deep for tears can be assuaged by laughter. The award-winning novels were interspersed with collections of short