Winner - The Guardian First Book Award
Winner of two Irish Book Awards - Newcomer of The Year and Book of The Year
Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
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 fiction.
©2012 Donal Ryan (P)2013 Steerforth Press LLC
"Irish author Ryan's debut takes readers to the 'heart' of hardscrabble life in Ireland in the era after the economic boom and bust of 2008. The novel received Book of the Year honors at the Irish Book Awards. . . . Reminiscent of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, this book gives readers a story—or rather stories—told from multiple perspectives, each chapter using a different voice. . . . Disturbing and unnerving but ultimately beautiful." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
"Structurally the novel gestures to William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, while Ryan's sensitive observations on Irish life seem responsive to the work of his compatriot Patrick McCabe. That Ryan does not look out of place in such literary company is a measure of his achievement." (The Financial Times)
"The recession has hit rural Ireland, and 'the sky is falling down." Through 21 different voices, Donal Ryan's virtuoso debut novel pieces together a fractured portrait of a community in shock. . . . What is so special about Ryan's novel is that it seems to draw speech out of the deepest silences; the testimony of his characters rings rich and true – funny and poignant and banal and extraordinary – and we can't help but listen." (The Guardian)
This is a searing look at the economic collapse in Ireland through its effects on the lives of individuals. Creative, different and totally absorbing. The reader is first-rate as well and intensifies the emotional punches.
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