From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

From a Low and Quiet Sea

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.

Details From a Low and Quiet Sea

TitleFrom a Low and Quiet Sea
Release DateMar 22nd, 2018
PublisherDoubleday Ireland
GenreFiction, Cultural, Ireland, Literary Fiction, Contemporary, European Literature, Irish Literature

Reviews From a Low and Quiet Sea

  • Angela M
    Though described as a novel, this felt like three separate stories of three different men, having only in common that each experiences loss and sadness. However, their lives touch in ways in the final part that I did not see coming. The first narrative is heartbreaking, painful , sad - no other way for me to describe it. It will give me pause every time I read about or see images of families escaping cruel treatment, injustices and regimes where ...
  • Hannah
    Do you know these books that make you fall in love with an author’s writing in a way that makes you want to read everything they have ever written? This was a book like that; it blew me away. I adore Donal Ryan’s way with words and the obvious care he takes to construct perfect sentences.This is more a collection of short stories but so much more than that in a way (and I say that as somebody who obviously loves short stories). Ryan tells the...
  • Peter
    DiversityFrom a Low and Quiet Sea presents a wealth of personality facets that are wonderfully captured and animated in Donal Ryan’s writing style. It deserves to be applauded. The mixed emotions of empathy, distaste and concern for the different characters, gives you a full-on emotional experience. There are three very different characters, Farouk, Lampy and John, each tainted by life’s obstacles while they tried to live their hopes and drea...
  • Diane S ☔
    Although a novel, it tells the story of three very different men who have all suffered losses. The first is Farouk and takes place in Syria, where the war has caused him to flee with his wife and child. Told in a compassionate tone, and heartbreaking to read, it is a story that has been told before. The last two take place in Ireland, Lampy, a young man brokenhearted, with a great deal of anger. He transports people from a care center who have ap...
  • Paula Kalin
    3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Dem
    3.5 Stars From a Low and Quiet Sea is a short novel and actually reads more like a book of short stories as opposed to a novel but Ryan's prose and unique characters weave together beautifully to make this a fresh and moving read.The Book in broken up into 4 parts and in the first 3 parts we are introduced to three very different and colourful characters and in the last part of the book we lean how these characters tales are intertwined. Donal Ry...
  • Hugh
    Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018My respect for Donal Ryan's writing grows with every book I read. This one is a masterly piece of storytelling, a short novel in four parts which appear to have little in common until the final part draws the strings together to deliver a devastating conclusion.The first part tells of Farouk, a Syrian doctor whose flight from his country with his wife and daughter is related brilliantly and humanely. For me...
  • Esil
    From a Low and Quiet Sea is short but potent. It is set up as three separate narratives that come together nicely in the last section. The first segment is told from Farouk’s perspective, a Syrian refugee who dwells on the tragic circumstances of his departure from Syria. The second segment is told from Lampy’s perspective, a young Irish man living with his mother and grandfather. The third segment is told from John’s perspective, an older ...
  • Meike
    There must be something in the water in Ireland: Last year, Sebastian Barry brought me to tears with Days Without End and Mike McCormick's Solar Bones left me in complete awe. On this year's Booker longlist and Costa shortlist, Donal Ryan is killing it, and once again, I am deeply impressed. For me, the strength of this book was not the story as a whole, and not even the individual narrative strands; rather, I was smitten with all those little vi...
  • Gumble's Yard
    Now longlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize. 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 …. Be Kind. Donal Ryan’s n...
  • Trudie
    * 4.5 *This book ! Oh, I really loved it.This is a reaction which I found surprising as I had expected to enjoy it in some kind of low and quiet way, appreciatively admiring. But that first story, knocked me for a six emotionally, it was in fifty pages everything I had wanted to get from last years Booker nominated Exit West. It totally made this book a worthy entrant on the 2018 Booker longlist in my opinion. However, that is only the first sect...
  • Peter Boyle
    The opening section of From a Low and Quiet Sea is quite a departure for Donal Ryan. Over the last few years he has earned a reputation as one the most eminent chroniclers of rural Ireland, yet this book begins in war-torn Syria. We are introduced to Farouk, a doctor, who fears for the safety of his wife and young daughter. He learns of a way to escape the country, which seems risky to him, but he eventually acknowledges that it's a better prospe...
  • Marchpane
    And he talked on about the universe, and the oneness of all people and all things, how man was Nature’s way of seeing itself, of feeling what it’s like to be. And he said again to listen, to observe, to do your best to hear beyond the spoken, to see the quality of the light in another’s eyes. Three short character studies connect to form From a Low and Quiet Sea, a restrained and impressive novel that seeks ‘the quality of light in anothe...
  • Faith
    This book consists of three stories that don't link up until the end of the book. I found the first story more compelling than the other two. Those stories had more of a stream of consciousness style, and I wasn't interested in the protagonists. The first, moving story was about a doctor desperately trying to escape from Syria with his wife and young daughter. However, all three stories held my interest, and the first one was so good that I gave ...
  • Britta Böhler
    I had the same experience with this book as with previous books by Ryan: absolutely loved the writing, the characters and their characterization. But I wasn't too crazy about the plot. Ryan is a fantastic storyteller but not a very good 'plotter' (if that makes sense to anybody else but me). The way the three stories came together felt too neat and rather forced, esp. John's role in it (the 'wheelchair'-scene was just too much). I also found the ...
  • Barbara
    I love Donal Ryan, and he continues to grow with each novel. I was struck in reading the section about the Syrian refugee doctor that opens the novel, that it reminded me of dystopian novels such as The Handmaid's Tale. Farouk, a doctor who lived a middle class life in Syria, escapes via a terrible boat journey, and ends up in a tent in a refugee camp. His current situation is nearly impossible for him to comprehend, and he recalls his life in Sy...
  • Ace
    This book of linked shortish stories has some very impressive writing with a very strong start in the fleeing of Farouk and family from their mother country, Syria I think, on a boat across to god know where. They are full of hope and feel lucky to be 'the ones that got away' that they could stay together and build a new life having just left everything they 'were' behind. From there, while the writing was quite brilliant, I wasn't so captivated ...
  • Doug
    I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan's previous Booker nominee (The Spinning Heart), and though I bought this upon its initial publication early in the year, I hadn't gotten around to reading it until its own Booker nomination. It's a quick read, taking only a few hours, but a lot is packed into the pages. Ryan's lush prose and deft characterization are once again in evidence, and his development of the interconnections between his three seemingly disparate...
  • Maxwell
    This is probably my favorite of Donal Ryan's books that I've read. I think he does get better with each release. The ending was a bit lackluster but overall I enjoyed the storytelling most of his novels and the writing, as always, was beautiful.
  • Jonathan Pool
    An enjoyable read of an author previously unfamiliar to me thought  I found the structure of the book a strange one.The quality of prose, and in particular the Irish vernacular, and the streams of consciousness in both the "John" and "Lampy" sections, was spectacular.I can certainly understand why In a Low and Quiet Sea is Booker 2018 long listed.The opening story”Farouk” stands apart from a book about the Irish psyche, a book whose portraya...
  • Sarah
    3.5 rounded downThree separate (but ultimately linked) stories about three very different men in present day Ireland.I found the first story - Farouk's - the most moving and engaging, however the other two stories are memorable in their own ways. I also preferred the writing style in the first story, which was less stream of consciousness-y than the other two - which contained a lot of suuuuper long sentences, think like two or three sentences on...
  • Cathy
    Convergence and interconnectedness seem to have been a theme of several books I’ve read recently. For example, Entanglement by Katy Mahood and Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block. Of course, knowing that disparate storylines will converge at some point in a book can mean the reader spends the whole time anticipating that convergence or looking out for subtle clues as to how it will come about. Can I just say, don’t bother with this book, be...
  • Rachel
    From a Low and Quiet Sea is my second Donal Ryan novel after All We Shall Know, and so far he's two for two if we're grading for emotional devastation and positively stunning prose. Ryan's style is everything I love about contemporary Irish literature incarnate - the lyrical, almost breathless writing which deftly balances black humor with an aching sadness, the quiet introspection of his characters, the skillful exploration of pain and loss and ...
  • Elaine Mullane
    4.5 starsAnother beautifully written and moving piece of work by the brilliant Donal Ryan.Having read Ryan's previous three offerings, I was wondering how he would move on from stories about rural Ireland's dispossessed. Authors write what they know, so moving on to new subjects and into new territory can sometimes mean a sacrifice of the richness of their work. This is certainly not the case here, however. When Ryan introduces the first protagon...
  • Katie Long
    This is undoubtedly a lovely and well written book, but I found myself admiring it rather than falling in love with it. If I had read it a month ago (before Booker madness began) I might have liked it more, but now it just isn't making the impression on me that several others on the list have. That said, I would have a beer with Pop any time! Booker longlist 6/13
  • Roman Clodia
    Ryan writes gorgeous, resonant prose full of lyrical cadences but somehow I can never quite love his books in the way I want to. Here he creates 3 mini character studies of men bowed beneath what life throws at them: one is maimed by the extraordinary losses of war and flight, the others by more mundane events, but all 3 are damaged in their different ways. The final section brings them all together in an unexpected way.This is a short book, unde...
  • Roger Brunyate
     From Over the Water Armoured they came from the east,From a low and quiet sea.We were a naked rabble, throwing stones;They laughed, and slaughtered us. This is the beginning of a poem written in school by a very minor character in Donal Ryan's new novel. A schoolmate, the class bully, asks him who is the "we": the Irish resisting the Norsemen, the Anglo-Saxons invaded by Normans, or the victims of some other invasion? The moment somebody uses t...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    Once again the Booker longlist provides me with a gem I probably wouldn't have found on my own, despite having read and liked previous works by Donal Ryan. The structure here is puzzling, are there three short disparate character studies, but it is described as a novel. But it does become clear with a twist I did not see coming.
  • Neil
    I have previously read Ryan’s The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December and neither of them were, for me, anything to write home about. I can understand why many people have rated them highly, but whilst I didn’t hate either of them, I also didn’t feel any urge to read All We Shall Know. Originally, I was planning to leave this one until the Booker short list is announced and only read it if it made the cut. However, I quickly realise...