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Cheryl's books

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The Collected Stories
John McGahern
George Eliot
Omensetter's Luck
William H. Gass
Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
A Naked Singularity (Paper)
Sergio de la Pava
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews
Geoff Dyer
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Claire Tomalin
Maps and Legends
Michael Chabon
The Spinning Heart - Donal Ryan These voices come from the same neighbourhoods as [a:Roddy Doyle|10108|Roddy Doyle|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1195236672p2/10108.jpg]'s and [a:Agnes Owens|108420|Agnes Owens|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1312630005p2/108420.jpg]'s. They are the working class of an Irish village, suffering the ongoing effects of the financial crash of the last few years. Each short chapter is in the voice of a different character, chatting to you, explaining or describing recent events in the village in the context of their own lives.

The reader is surrounded by a constant overlapping and at times jarringly different perspectives on key incidents. The characters speak as if they already know the reader, as if they are talking directly to you in the local pub. They are simultaneously optimistic but realistically pessimistic about their lives. Some of them are funny -- "My father still lives back the road past the weir in the cottage I was reared in. I go there every day to see is he dead and every day he lets me down." -- others are spitefully mean and selfish. Ryan has superbly captured the voices.

“There’s a red metal heart in the centre of the low front gate, skewered on a rotating hinge. It’s flaking now; the red is nearly gone. It needs to be scraped and sanded and painted and oiled. It still spins in the wind, though. I can hear it creak, creak, creak as I walk away. A flaking, creaking, spinning heart.”

The spinning heart is the hope and the reality of this Irish village.