A Novel Follows ‘Strange Flowers’ in an Insular Irish Village

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By Miranda Seymour

STRANGE FLOWERS
By Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan’s first and widely acclaimed novel, “The Spinning Heart” (2012), wove a story of everyday struggles — during Ireland’s economic depression — out of a chorus of narratives around two disquieting events: a man’s murder and a child’s abduction. Ryan surpassed that exceptional debut with “From a Low and Quiet Sea” (2018), in which the bereft voice of Farouk, a refugee, resonates amid the harsher tones of the Irish community into which, by an almost too neat chain of coincidences, he has been drawn.

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