Thing About December, The

Ryan, Donal

  4 Reviews

Johnsey Cunliffe is an unworldly lad, ill equipped for the cut and thrust of daily life. There are challenges enough for him in the small Irish village where he lives and these only multiply once his parents pass away and the property developers fix their sights on his farm.

Played out over a year, this is a moving story of vulnerability and isolation that examines the clash of traditional and contemporary values to produce a compelling and insightful portrayal of Irish rural life.

Comments from Groups

Uniquely written, paradoxical and insightful. Cleverly written, with humour saving the day in a story of a tragic life. Auckland 332

This was a very moving book that sparked a lot of discussion. It was extremely well written, but a difficult read for some of our members. The characters were believable, and Johnsey was a character that we all had a strong empathy for. We felt that they were representative of society in a small town. We would recommend this book. Queenstown 010

Very, very sad. Johnsey had no sense of self worth, but he had real insight, and was an observer of life. The writing style gave authenticity, and most members would recommend this book. Carterton 001

Very good notes. Some of our members didn't like the subject matter, and didn't continue past the first few pages. None enjoyed it. Lots of good ideas and devices, but not a compelling story. Greytown 003

On the whole we found this book incredibly sad and moving. Some beautiful writing; we enjoyed the Irish 'brogue'. Our group dedicated the book set to Jocelyn, and we think she would have approved. Palmerston North 031



Our group were enthralled, overwhelmed, saddened, angry and very captivated by this book - the writing was exquisite; an example on p44 on loneliness- amazing. Wonderful characters, and we discussed Johnsey at length, and how we all felt like mothering him, but were sad at his lack of independence and guidance once left alone. So much to discuss - all having different views but very legitimate ideas to add to each and every viewpoint. Excellent.
Good discussion on a book we didn't really like. Too much swearing. Strong characterisation and a well-written novel. We felt sorry for the main character in what could be a real life event anywhere.
WELL 123
Everyone agreed that this was well-written. Also bleak and typically 'Irish' - sad, with the anti-hero well portrayed. Not entirely believable that someone so intellectually challenged had such insights into himself Not uplifting but well worth reading!
CHCH 318
Most of our group really liked this book, although some found it a rather depressing read. Everyone agreed the writing was beautiful and the book certainly generated a lot of discussion.