*** Thanks to Lisa from lisareadsbooks.blogspot.ie for this book ***
I had wanted to read this even before it was Longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2013 and was delighted when I finally got my hands on a first edition!
Donal Ryan's Debut novel is a work of art.
Written in the form of short stories which are interlinked via a common factor, it is quiet reminiscent of Roddy Doyle's " The Deportees ".
Set in a country town near Limerick, this novel shows the cause and effects of one greedy property developer in recent times and how the Celtic Tiger in 1990s Ireland led to massive changes for many people when the recession hit.
From the building industry :
" Christ on a bike. I had a right swagger there for a couple of years, thinking I was a great fella. Foreman, I was, clearing a grand a week. Set for life. Houses would never stop going up "
to the unfortunates who bought in the Boom and ended up in negative equity :
" When Daddy and me went into the auctioneers to ask about these houses, they let on they let on they were nearly all sold.
He said he couldn't promise us any of the houses would still be available the next day. I believed him , even though I should have known better. Daddy got all worried and flustered then, and drove like a madman back to the Credit Union to get me the cash. I'd love to go back to that auctioneer now and kick him in the balls "
The author also shows all sides of the story including former workers, family members, residents and all affected by the Limerick Ghost Estate.
There are plenty of familiar tales of woe here but ,when all blended together like they are in this novel, it becomes less woeful and more soulful.
Donal Ryan's style is fresh, smooth and passionate. Outstanding for a debut novel !