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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, the powerful fourth novel from multi-award-winning author of The Spinning Heart. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, the lives of three men are drawn together in the most unexpected of ways.


'An engrossing, unpredictable, beautifully crafted novel' RODDY DOYLE

Farouk’s country has been torn apart by war.

Lampy’s heart has been laid waste by Chloe.

John’s past torments him as he nears his end.

The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.


An engrossing, unpredictable, beautifully crafted novel; Donal Ryan is giving us characters - their angles and their language - that we haven’t seen in Irish literature before.


I struggle to think of a writer who has been so prolific and consistent in quality as Ryan . . . Brutally honest, moving and often hilarious


Donal Ryan writes characters so well that as a reader you think ‘I’ve met that man’, or ‘I know that woman.’ But as a writer you simply wonder ‘how does he do it?’ From a Low and Quiet Sea is brutal and beautiful, carefully crafted portraits, deep and real, tied together, fashioned by a true artist. I absolutely loved it.


Deft and devastating…this book is both hard-hitting and uplifting: it serves as an indictment of the care industry, but also as a tribute to the way that humans care for one another.

The Observer

Donal Ryan has not only bounded over a wall into new territory, but built himself a castle there . . . This is a superb novel.

JOHN BOYNE, The Guardian

It’s a beautiful, luminous kind of piece - full of mystery, compassion, woven with such skill; heartbreaking and restorative. I will carry these splintered men around with me for a long time, along with the women who have loved them.


From a Low and Quiet Sea is not only very cleverly constructed, but deeply moving too. I loved it.

Louis de Bernières

From a Low and Quiet Sea is beautifully written, compassionate and almost unbearably moving. I loved it. I would struggle to think of any other Irish author working today who writes with as much compassion as Donal Ryan.


Donal Ryan writes with such sharp observation and humanity, that he makes us sit up and wonder at the tiny quiet internal lives of strangers. His writing is a wonderful gift to all of us. From a Low and Quiet Sea is another short and perfect novel to be inhaled in one heart-lurching gulp.


Ryan has the ability to shatter your heart into a million pieces with every book he writes - and even have you welcome the pain.


Ryan is not the first Irish writer indebted to Joyce, but his work reminds me of something Sylvia Beach said about Joyce: “He told me that he had never met a bore.”…Wonderful

Irish Times

Themes of kindness and humanity are the binding thread…and Ryan writes of them with characteristic warmth and insight.

Sunday Times

As moving as anything written about Syria

Mail on Sunday

The denouement, which comes in breathless bursts, is devastating. From a Low and Quiet Sea leaves you with that sense of discombobulating enlightenment that so often characterises the quiet epiphanies of great short stories.

Sunday Times

Bewitching…unforgettable...It takes a good writer to frame right and wrong within a coherent narrative and make it not feel like a finger-wagging sermon. It takes a great one, however, to make the contents heave and sigh before your eyes.’

Irish Independent

Devastating and masterful

Irish Country Magazine

An example of masterful storytelling

RTE Culture

A masterly portrait . . . the confidence with which Ryan dons the clothing of another culture marks a departure for his writing . . . a successor to John McGahern . . . It is exciting to see his subject matter move beyond his country’s borders, with the prospect of more of this to come.’

The Spectator

Empathy shines through the work

Sunday Independent

It is vomit-inducing, it’s so good.

Kit de Waal, Observer

The lives and stories, loves and tragedies, animating From a Low and Quiet Sea are wonderfully individual and finely alive. This is a brief book: yet one that lingers long in the reader’s mind.

New Statesman

With each novel Ryan gets better, and this moving and quietly insistent work is his best yet.

RTE Guide

You can sense his compassion in the bones of his work

Sunday Business Post

A hugely affecting, moving read. I was heartbroken by the end, but adored every chapter

Image Magazine


Woman’s Way

Each section displays Ryan’s range as a writer... [he] writes with brilliant empathy.

Boston Globe

Exquisitely rendered, with raw anguish sublimated into lyrical prose.

Washington Post

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 2, 2018

    Doubleday Ireland

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback


    April 15, 2018


    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au



Let me tell you something about trees. They speak to each other. Just think what they must say. What could a tree have to say to a tree? Lots and lots. I bet they could talk for ever. Some of them live for centuries. The things they must see, that must happen around them, the things they must hear. They speak to each other through tunnels that extend from their roots, opened in the earth by fungus, sending their messages cell by cell, with a patience that could only be possessed by a living thing that cannot move. It would be like me telling you a story by saying one word each day. At breakfast I would say it, the word of the story, then I’d kiss you and I’d go to work and you’d go to school and all you’d have of the story is that single word each day and I would give no more until the next day, no matter how you begged. You’ll have to have the patience of a tree, I’d say. Can you imagine how that would be? If a tree is starving, its neighbours will send it food. No one really knows how this can be, but it is. Nutrients will travel in the tunnel made of fungus from the roots of a healthy tree to its starving neighbour, even one of a different species. Trees live, like you and me, long lives, and they know things. They know the rule, the only one that’s real and must be kept. What’s the rule? You know. I’ve told you lots of times before. Be kind. Now sleep, my love, tomorrow will be long.

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