What Is Donal Ryan Reading?

Author DONAL RYAN shares THREE BOOKS he’s reading now …


A former civil servant, Donal Ryan now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. From a Low and Quiet Sea is his fourth novel, partly set in Syria and partly in rural Ireland. Its central characters are three men, each searching for his version of home, brought together in an unexpected way.

From a Low and Quiet Sea, Doubleday Ireland, €14.99.

Last Stories by William Trevor

I just finished this and was reminded how the very best writers make it look as though the writing of a story is easy. There isn’t a sentence that feels less than perfect or a story that feels in any way contrived or unbalanced. William Trevor was one of those writers whose work feels at once like an impossible benchmark, and an exhortation to other writers to push themselves beyond their own perceived boundaries, to work assiduously at their craft, and to honour language with each sentence. Penguin, €20.30; out May 24.

The List of Real Things by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

I have a beautiful proof copy of Sarah Moore Fitzgerald’s fourth novel, The List of Real Things. It’s a stunning tale of loss, grief, love and magic. I read it a few weeks ago and was enchanted and enthralled, as I always am by Sarah’s Dahl-esque storytelling facility, her heart, and her gleaming prose. I’m reading it again now with my daughter, who is entranced by Bee, younger sister of the narrator, Grace, and one of the most vivid, lovable and wise characters we’ve ever encountered. Littlebrown, €8.99.

Rise Above! Letters from Tyrone Guthrie, edited by Christopher Fitz-Simon

One of the most influential theatre directors of the last century, Guthrie bequeathed his home, Annaghmakerrig in Co Monaghan, to Ireland, as a retreat for writers and artists. The Lilliput Press has produced a hefty, handsome tome I cherish, filled with his letters to his mother, his wife and his sister, revealing a brilliant, searching intellect, a wonderful humanity, and a caustic, irreverent wit, as they chart a singular life and meteoric career from boarding school to his last days. Lilliput Press, €35.

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