Exciting Times

Gayle recommends:

I read almost nothing during lockdown, due to being entirely unable to focus on anything for more than five seconds, but Exciting Times was one of the few things that managed to cut through the lockdown brain fog. The story of a young Irish woman navigating life and love during a year abroad in Hong Kong, written in spare, drily funny prose, and littered with razor-sharp observations about language and class.

From the publisher:

‘The book of the summer ... Kept me rapt until the final page’ THE TIMES

‘A sharp, smart, witty modern love story. I loved it’ David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY

‘More than lives up to the hype ... Likely to fill the Sally-Rooney-shaped hole in many readers’ lives’ IRISH TIMES

‘Droll, shrewd and unafraid – a winning debut’ Hilary Mantel, author of WOLF HALL

‘I’ve been pushing Exciting Times on everyone I know. Some of Dolan’s pithy observations of her characters are the best I’ve read since Edward St Aubyn’ OBSERVER

‘A frankly sensational book’ Pandora Sykes on THE HIGH LOW

‘In the tradition of Dorothy Parker, Joan Rivers and Nora Ephron ... I found myself purring with pleasure. ...This is comic writing at the highest level’ Craig Brown, DAILY MAIL

When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents’ money, it’s called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she’s not sure what to call it, but it involves:

– a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children;

– Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room;

– Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks;

– money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections.

Exciting times ensue.