A strange encounter at a pub shuttered during the pandemic causes the publican to reflect on the role his pub has played in his town’s social life, particularly as related to class and power.

I enjoyed the cacophony of the voices of absent customers – some long dead – that the protagonist imagines as he cleans his empty pub, and also the unsettling encounter with a would-be customer – there’s a bit of a ghost story feel to the story. It also has a Joycean epiphany at the turn – it wouldn’t be out of place in a 21st century update of “Dubliners”.

I listened to this on another New Yorker podcast that features authors reading their own stories; Barry does a fine job with the reading, and of inhabiting the various voices.