All We Shall Know: Book summary and reviews of All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan

All We Shall Know

by Donal Ryan

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan X
All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
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Book Summary

A breathtaking and redemptive novel from the award-winning and Man Booker nominated author Donal Ryan.

Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. At 33 years-old, she finds herself pregnant with the child of a 17 year-old Traveller boy, Martin Toppy, and not by her husband Pat. Melody was teaching Martin to read, but now he's gone, and Pat leaves too, full of rage. She's trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming, while the past won't let her go. It's a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a bold young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody's life. 

Following the nine months of her pregnancy, All We Shall Know unfolds with emotional immediacy in Melody's fierce, funny, and unforgettable voice, as she contends with her choices, past and present.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Emotionally intense, deeply engaging, and profound." - Kirkus

"In this story of moral redemption and blood rivalries, Ryan is fair to each of his characters, as well as vivid in his evocation of Traveller culture. The result is a lush and lively novel that fascinates from its opening words to its tender last lines." - Publishers Weekly

"An extraordinary portrait of adultery, loneliness and betrayal ... One of the finest writers working in Ireland today. - The Guardian (UK)

"A joy to read, for all that it breaks your heart ... builds on [Ryan's] reputation for cramming generations of grief and disappointment into less than 200 pages of beautiful prose" - The Independent (UK)

"Ryan's language is poetic, powerful and heart-rending – this short novel has a beautiful economy and control." - The Times (UK)

"Stunning." - The Bookseller (UK)

"A consummate artist ... The denouement offers a satisfying element of redemption ... a great writer whose steady maturation proceeds apace." - The Sunday Times (UK)

"Raw, radiant prose ... [a] wonderful novel." - Sunday Express (UK)

" [A] gem of a novel. With a sure sense of place, and a convincing portrayal of life lived at the edgy margins, it vividly plots the landscape of the heart en route to a gripping and ultimately redemptive finale." - The Daily Mail (UK)

"All We Shall Know is a new and ambitious departure ... Ryan's rise to prominence may have been meteoric and his output dizzyingly prolific, but he is a writer who is very far from being a flash in the pan." - The Irish Times

This information about All We Shall Know was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Marcia S

Didn't like the main character
This was an OK book but not my favorite. I just couldn't warm up to the main character, Melody Shee. I understood her need to become pregnant, but not her anger at the world. She doesn't seem willing to take responsibility for anything. I did like the ending as she seemed to be a more caring person at that point. I did like Mary Crothery, the young Traveller who was also an outcast.

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Author Information

Donal Ryan Author Biography

Photo: MatthewThompson - Lilliput

Donal Ryan was born in a village in north Tipperary, a stroll from the shores of Lough Derg in 1976. He studied civil engineering in Limerick Institute of Technology, later completing a law degree at the University of Limerick through a night course. He currently works for the National Employment Rights Authority, and lives with his wife Anne Marie and two children just outside Limerick City.

Ryan's first two novels, The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December were between them rejected 47 times before they were finally accepted for publication.

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Other books by Donal Ryan at BookBrowse
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