BookBrowse Reviews The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

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The Spinning Heart

A Novel

by Donal Ryan

The Spinning Heart
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 160 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 160 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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In his impressive debut novel, Donal Ryan captures the myriad voices of an Irish community in financial and moral crisis.

The Spinning Heart opens with the unique voice of Bobby Mahon, who was a respected construction foreman in his Irish village. His life is on a more uncertain footing now that the property market, once a mainstay of the Irish economy, is in freefall after the financial crisis of 2008 (see 'Beyond the Book'). Bobby seems like a man of contradictions: the fact that he hates his father and wishes him dead might suggest he is heartless, yet he is rapturously uxorious about his beloved Triona and regrets the desperate situation of his former workers, now unemployed.

The novel (though "novella" might be the more appropriate term for a book of just 160 pages) is a chorus of twenty-one first-person narratives, including Bobby's. Ryan features representatives from every sector of the community: an old woman, a little girl, a Russian immigrant, a single mother, a police officer, a schizophrenic...

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