Nominated by:

Cork City Libraries, Ireland

Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Doubleday, Ireland

Lilliput Press, Ireland

The Spinning Heart

Donal Ryan      

2014 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

The Spinning Heart is a brilliant, witty and stylishly crafted debut novel not only about the complex impact of the recent painful economic recession in rural Ireland, but also – and most of all – about the intricate workings of the human heart, as well as the emotional and moral crisis of the contemporary world at large. It is uncanny how true this novel rings in all the aspects of its careful, modest depiction of small-town life at the break of the 21st century. One could certainly call this book the Irish Winesburg, Ohio, and Donal Ryan a dazzling new voice in Irish literature.

About the Book

‘My father still lives back the road past the weir in the cottage I was reared in. I go there every day to see is he dead and every day he lets me down. He hasn’t yet missed a day of letting me down.’

The fallout of Ireland’s financial collapse provokes dangerous tensions in a small Irish town. As the consequences of greed affect an entire community, a drama of kidnap and murder unfolds. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling with their own version of truth, a single authentic tale emerges.

This exhilarating debut captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland. Taking on the mantle of Synge and O’Casey, the author expresses the torment and tenderness of a generation. Witty, dark and poignant, The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Donal Ryan was born in a village in North Tipperary, a stroll from the shores of Lough Derg. He wrote the first draft of The Spinning Heart in the long summer evenings of 2010. He lives just outside Limerick city with his wife and two young children. The Spinning Heart has been lauded by critics ever since it’s release and won the Bord Gais Energy Book of the Year 2012.

Librarian’s Comments

A very impressive debut novel from a natural storyteller. A perceptive exploration of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland told with sympathy and passion.

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