The Spinning Heart


How did I get it?:
I bought it!


In the aftermath of Ireland’s financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds.

The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant.


I heard about this book when Waterstones (a book store) announced their Waterstones 11 list, in January this year. It is one of a selection of books published this year by debut authors. I was intrigued by this book, so I was looking forward to reading it. I was surprised at how short it was! I thought The Spinning Heart was a unique read with an incredibly distinctive (and very Irish!) voice.

The Spinning Heart is set in Ireland after the 1980’s recession. It explores the hard times that people went through using different characters. There are so many characters in this book (21!), but they all link back to Bobby in some way.

I think Donal Ryan has produced a very clever debut novel. You’d think with so many characters, they’d all merge into one, but really they each seemed different to each other. It took me a while to get into, but once I got used to the Irish voice it was told in and treated each chapter as an individual character’s tale, I got much more into it. I’m not sure that I’d read it again, but it was interesting to explore a different writing style than I’m used to.

Would I recommend it?:
This is a hard one with this book. I would recommend it to others, if they’re intrigued by it, but it wasn’t a brilliant read for me.

Reading next:
Acid- Emma Pass