Reviews

  • "Donal Ryan’s ambition is to evoke the marginal or washed-up existences of people in a global but very non-metropolitan Ireland as the 21st century dawns. . . . He channels their voices with consummate ventriloquism . . . Ryan’s ear for an authentically crackling colloquialism is as sharp as ever. . . . Ryan’s skill with language flicks out slang and abuse with a masterly touch . . . his ear is sharply attuned and his sense of irony remains mordant."

    The Irish Times
  • "Donal Ryan, one of our most remarkable writers, has produced a book of short stories of such visceral power that they hit you in the solar plexus. He deals with the dark side of modern Irish life and produces sentences of titanic impact."

    Irish Mail on Sunday
  • "Outstanding stories . . . There's a bracing - indeed, sometimes saving - humour . . . and there's a tenderness, too, towards many of the collection's lost souls. . . . Ryan is already such a master of the short form that even when you dread the outcome, you can't stop reading."

    Irish Independent
  • "Donal Ryan is a heartbreaker, his quicksilver prose laced with . . . wistful rhythms . . . These breathtaking stories explore human love against an uneasy landscape of violence and desperation. . . . Donal finds hope in dark corners. 'Sky' [is] a story about everything - life, loss and loneliness - but also just about one man's love for his nephew. [The title story's] gentle and redemptive ending leaves you gaping with wonder."

    Daily Mail
  • "Donal Ryan is a master of the magnetic first line. . . . His faithful subject is rural despair; the poetry of adversity, the baffling fortitude of intrinsically decent people. . . . These are plain-speaking stories, and in spite of the pervasive woe, this plain speech lends itself to blunt, bleak, brilliant humour. . . . Each unit of language has been scrupulously positioned, though the overall effect is of effortlessness. . . . This collection shows Ryan adding his own elastic yet distinctive voice to O’Connor’s impeccable tradition."

    The Guardian