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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
A collection of ten interwoven stories, Barry's debut tells the sad and funny tales of the forlorn denizens of Lucy's Tavern, a gathering place and watering hole for the hapless, lonely, and lovelorn. Lucy, the eponymous owner of the bar, is an elderly woman who "understood people who like longing more than they did love" and serves as the novel's first casualty. In grief over the recent passing of her lover, she heeds the siren song of a winter storm, walks out into it barefoot and is found the next morning, "her face tilted upward…as if she were waiting for something wonderful to happen." Her poignant, feebly noble death is a harbinger of the stories that follow.
Moving down the bar from one patron to the next, by turns comic and tragic, Barry exposes their longings for love and their struggles with loneliness, and introduces readers to a ragtag bunch of regulars: Harlin, the dead-end ne'er-do-well with a heart of gold; Cadence, his inconstant girlfriend, wife, and ex-wife; Linda, the advice columnist who can't follow her own prescriptions; and Bill, the drunken cook of a magical soup who's unable to recall the recipe the morning after, to name but a few.
Not so much a series of stories as a collection of small moments of comfort and grace, of precious things that help us make it through the night, Later, at the Bar is a novel peopled by the ordinary, rendered extraordinarily. (Summer 2007 Selection)