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.
"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)
"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)
"Wayne Farrell's gifted voice and captivating Irish brogue are mesmerizing.... Farrell is so versatile that listeners may sometimes think they're hearing a full-cast recording.... There are times when a narrator enhances a book, and there are times like this when he makes it." (AudioFile)
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21 Distinct Voices Beautifully Crafted
Mesmerizing Irish Brogue
The Spinning Heart is an excellent collection of 21 stories surrounding the collapse of the Irish economy in County Tipperary. The main character is Bobby Mahon, a young married man who is upset after getting laid off of work at a construction company. He especially feels cheated by his boss, Pokey Burke, because he and all other laid off employees lost their pensions.
Each chapter is a different resident providing commentary on recent events in the town, their neighbors, their businesses, the collapse of Burke’s company, the disappearance of a small child from daycare, and Mahon’s arrest for the murder of his father.
Wayne Farrell's narration is outstanding. He has 21 distinct voices, one for each of the residents of Tipperary. I was fully immersed in Farrell’s narration that I felt like I was listening to 21 different voice actors. Simply put, Farrell’s Irish brogue is mesmerizing!