Tuesday 21 January 2014

Review ~ The Thing About December by Donal Ryan

Random House UK,Transworld Publishers
2 January 2014

Johnsey Cunliffe is the proverbial lonely boy who struggles to find his place in the world. Constantly victimised and bullied by his peers, Johnsey’s landscape in rural Ireland is as bleak as it is traumatic. His only defence is the love and support of his parents but their valiant attempt to shield Johnsey from the vagaries of life comes to a cruel end with their untimely deaths. With the demise of his parents, Johnsey is faced with a responsibility, he neither understands nor wants.

What then follows is a year in Johnsey’s life as he struggles to come to terms with an existence he doesn’t understand. The story is told in a sensitive and insightful way and the compassion contained within Donal Ryan’s writing really showcases the juxtaposition of those whose greed and corruption seeks to exploit Johnsey’s vulnerability.

Beautifully portrayed, with genuine empathy, the story abounds with a realistic sense of time and place. The unforgiving characters, who seek to exploit innocence, and Johnsey’s own inimitable style, make this a book to remember, and which inevitably lingers long after the last page is turned.

Recommended Read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers.


About the Author

Donal Ryan was born in a village in north Tipperary in 1977. 
His first novel,  (2012), won the 2012 Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and was  also longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

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