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Need a Good Read? Check The Man Booker List

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The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers. And Ireland has THREE authors on the long list! If you’ve read any of them, submit your review to writing.ie right here. So, just in case you’ve been on holiday and missed all the excitement, who are they?

spinning heart liliputThe Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

We’re huge champions of Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart here at writing.ie – read our article all about how Donal wrote the novel here.

Here’s the thing : Donal is a debut author on the Man Booker list. Go figure!

In case you missed it, here’s the blurb:

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. He hasnt yet missed a day of letting me down. In the aftermath of Irelands financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant.Donal Ryans brilliantly realized debut announces a stunning new voice in literary fiction.
If you’re looking for a VERY special signed edition of The Spinning Heart, Lilliput have produced a hardback limited edition – all the info is here.

Transatlantic Colum McCannTransatlantic by Colm McCann

“Through an ambitious structure, McCann shows how the thrum of history binds the two countries tighter than any politically forced “special relationship”, and the transformative power of the past over the present.” Independent.co.uk

Sound good? This is the blurb:

1919. Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of the First World War to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. Among the letters being carried on the aircraft is one which will not be opened for almost a hundred years. 1998. Senator George Mitchell criss-crosses the ocean in search of an elusive Irish peace. How many more bereaved mothers and grandmothers must he meet before an agreement can be reached? 1845. Frederick Douglass, a black American slave, lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet. On his travels he inspires a young maid to go to New York to embrace a free world, but the land does not always fulfill its promises for her. From the violent battlefields of the Civil War to the ice lakes of northern Missouri, it is her youngest daughter Emily who eventually finds her way back to Ireland.
Can we pass from the new world to the old? How does the past shape the future? InTransAtlantic, National Book Award-winning Colum McCann has achieved an outstanding act of literary bravura. Intricately crafted, poetic and deeply affecting it weaves together personal stories to explore the fine line between what is real and what is imagined, and the tangled skein of connections that make up our lives.
testament of maryThe Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
No stranger to the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary  is the moving story of the Virgin Mary, told by a novelist famous for writing brilliantly about the family. From the author of Brooklyn, in a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief.
For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son’s brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
This is a short book, but it is as dense as a diamond. It is as tragic as a Spanish pieta, but it is completely heretical…Tóibín maintains all the dignity of Mary without subscribing to the myths that have accumulated around her’ Edmund White, Irish Times
Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels, including The Blackwater Lightship, and The Master, both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel Award, and two collections of stories, Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family.
Three great reads. Three great authors. We have our fingers crossed at least one of them makes the shortlist!