The Divine Ryans

The Divine Ryans

Book - 1999
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The Ryans of St. John's, Newfoundland, are a large and deeply eccentric Irish-Catholic family in the dual business of newspaper-publishing and undertaking--"one-hundred years of digging up dirt of one kind or another," as Uncle Reginald puts it. Enough Ryans also become priests and nuns to earn them the sobriquet "Divine." The youngest member of the family is nine-year-old Draper Doyle Ryan, whose passion for the Catholic Montreal Canadiens in their battles against the Protestant Toronto Maple Leafs is matched only by his perplexity over his recently deceased father's regular reappearances, hockey puck in hand, in the house next door. How he comes to make sense of these visitations, his gently screwy relatives, and his own burgeoning sexuality forms the matter of this droll, wise, and effortlessly funny coming-of-age novel.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 1999
Edition: 1st Broadway Books ed
ISBN: 9780385495448
Branch Call Number: FIC John
Characteristics: 215 p


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brianreynolds Sep 30, 2015

It seems to me that when a writer wants to deliver a meaningful punch to the reader it isn't a bad idea to distract him (or her) first—a little levity perhaps or an anecdote, maybe a string of anecdotes. A flashback works. Even a good character description or a peak at the landscape. I'm sure that's not a new idea. Certainly anyone capable of writing The Colony of Unrequited Dreams probably knew that before he started public school. The punch, it seems to me, becomes a low blow, however, when it isn't delivered until the novel is three-quarters finished. By then, the reader has fallen asleep completely, has thought this was a trip to the Ex or a sunshine sketch of childhood in simpler times. A punch delivered at that point immediately seems unfair; appeals surely must be made to the literary gods: a kid too inept to be believably nine cannot score the winning goal in a game with grown-ups, not with seconds left on the clock and the rest of his team in the penalty box. For dreams to work that kind of magic, an analyst is usually somewhere in the background. Alas. The writing was good and the punch was a humdinger.

Oct 27, 2007

I very much enjoy Wayne Johnston as a writer.


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Oct 27, 2007

My first Wayne Johnston book was Colony of Unrequited Dreams and I enjoyed it so much I have been reading his other works. The Divine Ryans are a family who own the newspaper and funeral home in town. The book is about the dynamics in the family when one person appears to run the whole group and how that changes over time.


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