Book Review

The Queen of Dirt Island: Ryan returns to his roots with a memorable multi-generational tale

The Irish author’s sixth novel follows a family of Tipperary women whose relationship becomes almost symbiotic as the years pass

The natural heir to John McGahern, Ryan displays a similar ability to capture the poetry and romance of rural Ireland. Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Donal Ryan’s sixth novel sees him breathing life back into some of the characters that peopled 2020’s Strange Flowers, as he once again draws the reader into the townlands of rural Tipperary where love and tragedy walk the boreens and lakesides.

We follow four generations of women from the Aylward family as they face everything life throws at them while living on the outskirts of Nenagh. Neighbours of the Gladneys who featured in Ryan’s last ...