The Thing About December
By: Donal Ryan
‘Mother always said January is a lovely month. Everything starts over again in the New Year. The visitors are all finished with and you won’t see sight nor hear sound of them until next Christmas with the help of God. The bit of frost kills any lingering badness. That’s the thing about January: it makes the world fresh.’
Rural Tipperary at the turn of the 21st century. Johnsey Cunliffe, a simple, naïve only child in his twenties, grieves the death of his much-loved father. Harassed by local bullies and excluded by his peers, Johnsey’s isolation worsens when his inherited farm is re-zoned and becomes valuable. The clouds gather as a local conglomerate tries to tempt Johnsey into giving up his family’s land, while Johnsey, the unlikeliest of heroes, must try to hold on to those things dearest to him.
Tense, complex and beautifully written, Donal Ryan’s brilliant novel captures the loneliness of the outcast, the pain of being an orphan at any age, and the terrible consequences of parochial greed.
Praise for Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award and Book of the Year Award (Bord Gais, 2012)
‘What a writer!’ – Jennifer Johnston
‘I was hugely impressed by The Spinning Heart. There will be many novels which explore the effect of the crash on the people of Ireland but I can’t imagine a more original, more perceptive or more
passionate work than this. Outstanding.’ – John Boyne
Extract from Sebastian Barry’s review in The Guardian