Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Spinning Heart - Donal Ryan


 The tiger economy of Ireland is done for.  There is a downturn.  Ghost estates all over the place, full of built but empty houses, for there is no money to buy them.  And on the edge of a small town one of those estates grinds to a halt when the builder tells his team they are all redundant, does a runner and leaves them to pick up the pieces.

We'll find out pretty quickly that the builder paid no national insurance, pension pot, nothing, so all those men who thought that at least they could claim unemployment benefit find themselves with nothing.

Each chapter is told by a different member of the town. Each voice is different.  But slowly we will see how every character is linked to another, and ultimately to the whole town.  There is cruelty, swearing, abuse.  Is this real life?  I'm inclined to think it is.  This is what would happen in your town if you lost everything.

A brilliant first novel which gets high praise from me.   And his second is even better - and just as quirky.

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