Two of the many joys of Christmas are compiling and consulting year end, best-of lists. Here's a slow reader's very short one of their favourite books of 2012: Josh Ritter's Bright's Passage and this, a stunning, interlocked collection of short stories about people picking up the pieces in Ireland after the boom.

Written as monologues - from out-of-work builders to mothers to coppers, chancers, wrong 'uns and many more - The Spinning Heart offers plenty in the way of both laughter and tears and heralds the arrival of Tipperary-born Ryan as one of the truly special new voices in Irish literature. If he's this good now...

In these pages you will find people and predicaments from your own world and the depiction of loneliness, confusion and things left unsaid never feels like anything less than real life typed up.

It's over all too soon (156 pages), but long before the final page-turn you've realised that whatever else Ryan achieves in books in the years ahead you'll be reaching for this one over and over again - and pressing copies into the hands of others.

Harry Guerin