#18. The Spinning Heart (Donal Ryan)

Book: The Spinning Heart, by Donal Ryan

Genre: Contemporary fiction – longlisted for the Man Booker prize, 2013.

Where I got it: Won it!  (To be strictly accurate, I bought the Kindle version of the book with a voucher that I won).

Length: 160 pages

Briefly, it’s set in a small Irish town in the aftermath of the economic collapse.  A builder/developer goes bankrupt, and the consequences are far-reaching…

Comments: This is an excellent book.  Each chapter is narrated in a different person’s voice.  The title of each chapter is simply the name of the person narrating that chapter, so potential confusion is avoided.  A picture builds up slowly, each perspective adding some new information, but above all adding a different slant.  Not everything is spelled out, the reader has to make some imaginative jumps, but that’s part of the appeal.

The one thing that I did not like was the continual use of the colloquial construction “they do be” – they do be saying, they do be eating, etc.  It seemed overdone, stage-Irish.  Even if it is how people really speak in Ryan’s part of the country, I could have done with less of it!

Nevertheless this is a great book; a big story in a short number of pages.

Challenges: Full House Challenge, for the category “Won or borrowed”; Reading Round Munster personal challenge, for Tipperary (Donal Ryan’s native county); ebook reading challenge 2014.