Donal Ryan's second novel, The Thing about December, was a finalist for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Ryan's first novel, The Spinning Heart, is an international best-seller and winner of the prestigious Guardian First Book Award.
While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Following the deaths first of his father and then his mother, Johnsey inherits the family farm, and a healthy bank account, both of which he proves incapable of managing on his own. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns. Though companionship, and the promise of love, enter his life as a result of a hospital stay following a brutal beating, Johnsey remains a lonely man struggling to keep up with a world that moves faster than he does.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey's life, The Thing about December breathes with Johnsey's bewilderment, humor, and agonizing self-doubt. Listeners will fall in love with Johnsey in a bittersweet tale that serves as a poignant reminder that we are surrounded in life by simple souls who are nonetheless more insightful and wise than we realize, or can even imagine. Told from Johnsey's point of view, The Thing about December is at once life affirming and heartbreaking.
"From the first sentences his narration and [narrator Wayne Farrell] gorgeous voice pick me up and take me exactly where the author intends for the reader to go. His performance brought only what our wounded man Johnsey was capable of providing to the story, yet it inspired a much deeper connection between me and Johnsey than I would have anticipated." (Literate Housewife)
"The writing in this novel is simply amazing . . . [it] will at times make readers cry and at others, laugh in delighted recognition." (Library Journal. Starred Review)
"Written before Ryan’s award-winning debut, The Spinning Heart, this novel is set in the same town a decade earlier, capturing the spirit and vernacular of its place and time and taking readers into the mind of a man struggling to get along in a world he can’t quite comprehend. Stunning." (Booklist, Starred Review)
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The thing about December
There is a gentleness that pervades this book, the slow thoughtfulness of the main character. This book is. beautifully written, it sweeps you up into his world. I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook.
Inner Thoughts of a Mentally Challenged Man