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The Thing About December

The Thing About December

Hardback Doubleday

By (author) Donal Ryan

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  • Publisher: Doubleday Ireland
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 143mm x 222mm x 19mm | 332g
  • Publication date: 2 January 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Dublin
  • ISBN 10: 1781620091
  • ISBN 13: 9781781620090
  • Sales rank: 65,751

Product description

'He heard Daddy one time saying he was a grand quiet boy to Mother when he thought Johnsey couldn't hear them talking. Mother must have been giving out about him being a gom and Daddy was defending him. He heard the fondness in Daddy's voice. But you'd have fondness for an auld eejit of a crossbred pup that should have been drowned at birth.' While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns. Set over the course of one year of Johnsey's life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is. Donal Ryan's award-winning debut, The Spinning Heart, garnered unprecedented acclaim, and The Thing About December confirms his status as one of the best writers of his generation.

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Author information

Donal Ryan is from Nenagh in County Tipperary. His first novel, The Spinning Heart, was published to major acclaim. It won the Guardian First Book Award and the Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards; it was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize. The Thing About December was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. Donal lives with his wife Anne Marie and their two children just outside Limerick City.

Review quote

"A concise, radiant, measured and integral work... This is one of those beautiful, serious, fully living novels that make you laugh out loud... Donal Ryan is a magus of a writer. He has such magic at his disposal to tell a story... This is a novel to replenish the reader's heart and spruce the reader's soul, although it also makes one doubt we possess such signal things. It's a force of nature, high artifice and the product of a life-enhancing talent." -- Sebastian Barry Guardian "Ryan writes from the rural heartland in prose that always pushes for the truth of things... His characters are large-hearted people in a small-minded world... He underplays the ironic distance and pulls our sympathies tight. And he tells a great story. His paragraphs are unnoticeably beautiful, his heart always on show, and he writes with a social accuracy that is devastating... There are ... not many who hit the sweet spot of the Irish tradition as Donal Ryan does here." -- Anne Enright Observer "Painfully moving ... Ryan writes with absolute confidence, balancing emotion, surprise and ambiguity... In his descriptions of the conflicts between stunted young men and their domineering parents he recalls the great John McGahern ... he is indisputably carving his own terrain with these short, fierce books that strike at the heart of what it has meant to be Irish in recent times ... Ryan's work has set a benchmark to which other writers will aspire." -- John Boyne The Irish Times "Clear-eyed and moving." -- Belinda McKeon Irish Independent "Powerful ... Ryan is clearly committed to his subject and possesses the insight and empathy to illuminate the heart of the matter." -- Claire Kilroy Financial Times