Dark Lies the Island by Irish author Kevin Barry was a book of big ups and downs for me. The opening story seemed nothing more than a slight vignette, but the next few stories gained traction with wonderful characters. Hands-down, my favorite was Fjord of Killary, about a middle-aged washed-up poet with writer's block who buys an ancient inn in the middle of nowhere because he thinks it will rejuvenate him. I won't give more than that away, except to say it was full of interesting people and a flood, and let it go at that. Here's the opening paragraph:
"So I bought an old hotel on the fjord of Killary. It was set hard by the harbor wall, with Mweelrea Mountain across the water, and disgracefully gray skies above. It rained two hundred and eighty-seven days of the year, and the locals were given to magnificent mood swings. On the night in question, the rain was particularly violent—it came down like handfuls of nails flung hard and fast by a seriously riled sky god. I was at this point eight months in the place and about convinced that it would be the death of me."
So, a disappointment overall, although Fjord of Killary? Great fun.