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Donal Ryan

The Spinning Heart

Donal Ryan The Spinning Heart
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Biographical note:

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.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Main description:

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.

Review quote:

Winner of two Irish Book Awards - Newcomer of The Year and Book of The Year

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award

"The traditional epithet for a good first novel is 'promising'. The Spinning Heart, however, is far more than that. Instead, it's the unambiguous announcement of a genuine and apparently fully-formed new talent." - The Spectator

"A funny, moving, technically inventive first novel.... 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

"I have ordered a copy of The Spinning Heart for everyone I know who loves to read. What a treasure of a book." -- Natascha McElhone

"I can't imagine a more original, more perceptive or more passionate work than this. Outstanding." -- John Boyne

"A first novel that's up-to-date in its concerns but that also transcends the merely topical in its bleak, if often savagely funny, vision of a rural Ireland. Donal Ryan has an imaginative insight into his characters that's all his own and a furious energy to his prose that gives arrestingly vivid life to these blighted souls." -- John Boland

"Ryan's feat is considerable. Narrative and character information is distributed among so many different voices and yet we never feel at a loss. Best of all, Ryan's ear for speech is acute...Given a novel as brilliantly realized as The Spinning Heart, I see no reason to look anywhere but the present. For Donal Ryan, the future is now." -- Declan Hughes

"A new Irish writer of the very first order. Donal Ryan is the real deal." -- The Sunday Independent

"For all the harshness of language and the often brutal experiences, The Spinning Heart is unexpectedly tender. . . . An exciting 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." -- The Irish Times


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