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  • The Queen of Dirt Island

  • By: Donal Ryan
  • Narrated by: Emma Lowe
  • Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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The Queen of Dirt Island

By: Donal Ryan
Narrated by: Emma Lowe
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

From the multi-award-winning author of the number one best seller, Strange Flowers, a searing, jubilant story about four generations of women and fierce love.

The Aylward women of Nenagh, Tipperary, are mad about each other, but you wouldn't always think it. You'd have to know them to know—in spite of what the neighbours might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes—that their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world.

Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It's a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn't. From the prize-winning author of Strange Flowers and The Spinning Heart, The Queen of Dirt Island is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that bind generations together.

©2022 Donal Ryan (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Donal Ryan is giving us characters that we haven't seen in Irish literature before." (Roddy Doyle)

"Ryan's work has set a benchmark to which other writers will aspire." (John Boyne)

"I think you have to truly love people to write like this." (Rachel Joyce)

What listeners say about The Queen of Dirt Island

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Fabulous read

I absolutely loved this book and I could not put it down, such a fabulous read, a really moving book. A must read.

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Desperate Narration

The narration was very oirish. it made it very challenging to listen to. I deleted it for a finish. Donal Ryan's book deserves so much better.

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Wonderful

I think it’s his best so far. And that is saying something for his run of novels. Follows a collection of women and girls through many years and the ups and downs of life. I think the best thing I can say for it is that it reminded me of my own home and family and that is something.

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  • Monica Nolan
  • 19-11-22

Huge depth, insight and perception.

I chose the less than 5-star rating for performance because of the jarring of the reader’s pronunciation as narrator. Her repeated softening of the final ‘t’ in words like ‘heart’ and ‘part’ was at odds with the ‘feel’ of the book. They belong to a certain elitist accent. It seemed as if the content of what she read was unrelated to her, as if her ‘commentary’ was not integral to the characters and context. Her performance of the dialogue between and inside the individuals was excellent, after an initial stage Irishness in tone. I would have liked to hear Donal Ryan himself read this absorbing and insightful novel.