The Queen of Dirt Island
The Irish Times Number 1 bestseller from the award-winning, Booker longlisted author.
‘Ryan’s writing is so musical, so easily heard, that your eyes will dance through its pages’ JOANNA CANNON
‘One of the finest novelists writing today… a haunting, exquisite masterpiece.’ RACHEL JOYCE
‘A generous mosaic of a novel about the staying power of love and pride and history and family’ COLUM McCANN
‘Beautiful, compassionate … Donal Ryan at his inimitable best.’ MAGGIE O’FARRELL
The Aylward women are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know – in spite of what the neighbours might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes – that their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world.
Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t. More than anything, it is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that last generations.
‘Beautifully poised, sad, poetic and human….I loved every single line.’ IAN RANKIN
‘His paragraphs are unnoticeably beautiful, his heart always on show’ ANNE ENRIGHT
‘Endlessly surprising and incredibly moving’ DAVID NICHOLLS
‘A life-enhancing talent’ SEBASTIAN BARRY
‘I would struggle to think of any other Irish author working today who writes with as much compassion as Donal Ryan’ LOUISE O’NEILL
‘[A] master storyteller. The most vivid characters, so full of life. You read each short chapter wondering how he’s crammed in so much heart and wonder, while the story itself ramps up to its quietly devastating and marvellous conclusion.’ * Kit de Waal * This is a generous mosaic of a novel about the staying power of love and pride and history and family. While Donal Ryan is never afraid of “all the meanness and sorrow of the world,” he also manages to excavate the thrilling beauties that hold us together. He manages, with wit and grace, to illuminate the anonymous corners of human experience and get at the underworld of our souls. * COLUM McCANN * Donal Ryan is one of the finest novelists writing today and this is a gem of a novel. Full of humanity, humility, humour, drama and mystery, his characters are so vivid you feel they are sitting outside, waiting for him to conjure them to life. He writes with grace and precision, with love indeed, about who we are and why, about family history and the ghosts we carry. A haunting, exquisite masterpiece. * RACHEL JOYCE * I was thunderstruck by this exquisitely beautiful and powerful novel. This is writing of shimmering truthfulness, empathy and authority by the most consistently brilliant Irish writer of his generation. * Joseph O’Connor * Beautifully poised, sad, poetic and human….I loved every single line. * IAN RANKIN * ‘Donal Ryan repeatedly broke my heart and then soldered it back together with words of molten gold. The Queen of Dirt Island is a powerful tribute to mothers in all of their ferocity, tenderness and guilt. I loved this book with my whole patchwork heart. Eloquent, beautiful and threaded throughout with a joyful savage humour, a privilege to read, and re-read.’ * LIZ NUGENT * The Queen of Dirt Island is the work of a master writer in full flow. Donal Ryan is uncommonly perceptive at finding greatness in humanity’s goodness. This is his best novel yet. * RONAN HESSION * Donal Ryan makes writing look effortless. He manages to capture the world and all its broken beauty in one tiny corner of Ireland. His characters feel like people you’ve always known. His words seem to sing off the page. * JAN CARSON * In gorgeous, graceful prose, Donal Ryan tells the story of four generations of women in this tender, joyful gem of a novel. * PAULA HAWKINS * An endlessly surprising story of the heart’s secret places, and what we hide there… This magnificent novel confirms Donal Ryan is a writer of rare and precious vision: he sees the world as it ought to be, and dares you to believe in it. * MICHAEL HUGHES * A stunning portrayal of intergenerational family love and the complications of the human condition. I was swept up in the world of the Aylward women: in their power and pain and mostly, in their fierce resilience. A novel full of compassion and honesty, where love triumphs. The prose is pitch perfect. * ELAINE FEENEY * Hymn to the warp and woof of life; celebration of the flip-flop way of family; soaring testimony to the endurance of the human spirit. And all delivered with his trademark compassion, empathy, humour and brio. A gift of a book. * Alan McMonagle *
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