Book review: The Spinning Heart By Donal Ryan

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In “The Spinning Heart,’’ the debut novel by Irish writer Donal Ryan, the opening image of a “red metal heart in the centre of the low front gate, skewered on a rotating hinge . . . [a] flaking, creaking, spinning heart” symbolically ties the plot — and the many characters in this narrative — together.

Told by 21 narrators (we never hear from the same character twice), Ryan’s compelling, insightful novel chronicles the lives of the residents of a tightknit rural town in the aftermath of the Irish economic collapse. This short, swift, brutally funny romp through the fallout of a national disaster points to the likelihood of emotional crisis when one’s livelihood and purpose disappear without warning.

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