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The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

The Spinning Heart

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RRP £7.99

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A small Irish village is suffering from the collapse of its local factory, leaving most of the population with financial problems. We hear of their lives through some twenty-one narratives. This is an extraordinary feat, a stunning work which has recently won the Guardian First Book Award. You think initially that you are just hearing the same story from different viewpoints and then you realise that each character is adding a bit to the plot. It is incredible how it works, and work it certainly does. It is a short book but not a quick read. Savour it slowly, it’s worth it.

If you like Donal Ryan you might also like to read books by Liane Moriarty, Diane Chamberlain and Colum McCann.


The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

This book is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 and the winner of Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2012. My father still lives back the road past the weir in the cottage I was reared in. I go there every day to see is he dead and every day he lets me down. He hasn't yet missed a day of letting me down. In the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant. Donal Ryan's brilliantly realized debut announces a stunning new voice in literary fiction.

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'[An] extraordinarily accomplished first novel. here is a new Irish writer of the very first order. Donal Ryan is the real deal. . a brilliantly realised, utterly resonant state-of-the-nation landscape . Ryan's feat is considerable. Narrative and character information is distributed among so many different voices and yet we never feel at a loss. Even the characters on the margins of the story . add compelling colour and texture. Best of all, Ryan's ear for speech is acute. . Given a novel as brilliantly realised as The Spinning Heart, I see no reason to look anywhere but the present. For Donal Ryan, the future is now.' -- Declan Hughes, Sunday Independent

'Donal Ryan's precise and evocative debut . is a textured account of a community as it was during a brief moment of time. . unexpectedly tender . Ryan's prism of life and lives is compellingly humane. . This is an exciting, relevant and believable contemporary novel about the lost and the wounded that listens to the present without discarding either the sins of the fathers or the literary legacy of the past.' -- Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

'Powerful and affecting ... [a] superb, unforgettable and topical debut. The Times Humane, funny, moving and relevant, this is extremely impressive stuff.' - Daily Mail

'A formidable debut, with snatches of the savage comedy of Patrick McCabe and a wistful cadence all its own.' - Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Donal Ryan was born in a village in north Tipperary, a stroll from the shores of Lough Derg. Donal wrote the first draft of The Spinning Heart in the long summer evenings of 2010, and has also completed a second novel. He lives with his wife Anne Marie and two children just outside Limerick City.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th December 2013


Donal Ryan

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Doubleday Ireland an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ireland Ltd


160 pages


Family Drama
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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