John Lennon imagined in 'Beatlebone' (or is he really?)

John Lennon imagined in 'Beatlebone' (or is he really?)

In 1967, John Lennon bought a small island off the west coast of Ireland called Dorinish. It wasn't much of an island, just a pasture and some rocks, which, Kevin Barry tells us in his second novel, "Beatlebone," "were harvested for ballast by the local fishing fleet." Although Lennon wanted to establish a utopian community on Dorinish (in the early 1970s, he invited a group to start a commune on the land), he visited the island just twice.

The story is intriguing, not least because it's rare to come upon a lesser-known narrative about the Beatles — and yet the unexpected turn of Barry's novel, which imagines a 1978 trip by Lennon to Dorinish, is that it...