ContemporaryExciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan


There are some books that have so much hype and praise, are on so many book of the year lists you just cant avoid them, and when people like Zadie Smith & HILARY MANTEL HERSELF are on the cover there isn’t much choice in picking it up.

In truth, from about page 5 I knew this was the book for me. There is such a caustic, clever, observational wit that saturated every other line Ava, our main character utters, I honestly was mesmerised.

Dolan is regularly compared to Rooney but I am going to step out onto the precipice and publicly state that for me she is better (cue hiding behind the couch from the inevitable derision and disdain).

It’s just so funny, but in a biting, brilliant way. Ava moves to Hong Kong, teaching English to privileged kids and befriends banker Julian. As their relationship develops, she is presented with different life choices as Edith enters her life, presenting her with a completely different path ahead. 

Politically astute, what I love about this is the very simple, clear prose, and the way Dolan analyses the elements of life that are quotidian and relatable to all. The characters do at times feel like parodies of the archetype – Julian as the Etonian, Balliol college banker as a prime example, but they become more nuanced as the story develops. The contrast between classes and cultures was also deftly done and provided a thought provoking aspect.

A hugely popular book that I was happy to have purchased, would read again and would absolutely be up for a screen adaptation. Let me know what you thought of Exciting Times, long listed for the 2021 @womensprize

Have a great weekend all

~ Chaya

Order your copy of ‘Exciting Times’ here.

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