‘He heard Daddy one time saying he was a grand quiet boy to Mother when he thought Johnsey couldn’t hear them talking. Mother must have been giving out about him being a gom and Daddy was defending him. He heard the fondness in Daddy’s voice. But you’d have fondness for an auld eejit of a crossbred pup that should have been drowned at birth.’
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. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonising self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.
About the Author
Donal Ryan is from Nenagh in County Tipperary. The Spinning Heart, his debut novel, was published to major acclaim; it won the Guardian First Book Award in 2013 and the Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2012, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. His second novel, The Thing About December, is published by Doubleday Ireland. Donal lives with his wife Anne Marie and their two children just outside Limerick City.
This book is one that has stayed with me, long after reading. The author captures small town Ireland (though it could be small town anywhere), but manages to bring fresh eyes to it. The story is simple but beautifully told and he makes you want to step into the book and talk to the characters.