The Divine Ryans

The Divine Ryans

Book - 1998
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In this beloved, bestselling novel which has been unavailable for some time, young Draper Doyle Ryan tries to come to terms with the mysterious death of his father as he struggles, in touching, comic fashion, with budding adolescence and the strange demands of his proudly eccentric family.

When first published in 1990, The Divine Ryans received unanimous critical praise and won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award; Wayne Johnston himself was hailed as one of Canada's most distinctive comic talents.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1998, c1990
ISBN: 9780676971842
Branch Call Number: JOHNS
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.

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AnamCara
Oct 27, 2007

I very much enjoy Wayne Johnston as a writer.

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AnamCara
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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