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"A concise, radiant, measured and integral work. . . . This is one of those beautiful, serious, fully living novels that make you laugh out loud. . . . Donal Ryan is a magus of a writer. He has such magic at his disposal to tell a story. . . . This is a novel to replenish the reader’s heart and spruce the reader’s soul, although it also makes one doubt we possess such signal things. It’s a force of nature, high artifice and the product of a life-enhancing talent." (Sebastian Barry Guardian)
"Ryan writes from the rural heartland in prose that always pushes for the truth of things. . . . His characters are large-hearted people in a small-minded world. . . . He underplays the ironic distance and pulls our sympathies tight. And he tells a great story. His paragraphs are unnoticeably beautiful, his heart always on show, and he writes with a social accuracy that is devastating. . . . There are . . . not many who hit the sweet spot of the Irish tradition as Donal Ryan does here." (Anne Enright Observer)
"Painfully moving . . . Ryan writes with absolute confidence, balancing emotion, surprise and ambiguity. . . . In his descriptions of the conflicts between stunted young men and their domineering parents he recalls the great John McGahern . . . he is indisputably carving his own terrain with these short, fierce books that strike at the heart of what it has meant to be Irish in recent times . . . Ryan’s work has set a benchmark to which other writers will aspire." (John Boyne The Irish Times)
"Clear-eyed and moving." (Belinda McKeon Irish Independent)
"Powerful . . . Ryan is clearly committed to his subject and possesses the insight and empathy to illuminate the heart of the matter." (Claire Kilroy Financial Times)
The poignant second novel from the award-winning author of The Spinning HeartSee all Product Description
This is a well written novel that is very touching. The novel narrates a year in the life of Johnsey, a young man seemingly with learning difficulties, living in an Irish village... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michelle Thompson
Though this is clearly a well written book and it's characters are well drawn, it's very slow moving and I found it quite unremarkable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ron McCarthy
I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read but was thought provoking. It was sad but also made me laugh. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs.Catherine Campbell
“Out of Ireland have we come. Great hatred, little room, maimed us at the start”. (WB Yeats)
Donal Ryan’s second published novel, The Thing about December, is just as... Read more
A wonderful story. Funny, sad and beautifully written. I competed it in one day.Published 5 months ago by James Kirrane
Great, even if my heart broke about two-thirds of the way through.Published 5 months ago by Cathy Power
This is a piece of art , so beautifully worded you will go back and reread some lines . The main characters are a farmer son johnsey and a patent he meets in hospital mumbling... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mavee