Exciting Times

Naoise Dolan

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson

Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, spends her days teaching English to rich children.

Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava, to have sex and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than ‘I like you a great deal’.

Enter Edith, a lawyer. Refreshingly enthusiastic and unapologetically earnest, Edith takes Ava to the theatre when Julian leaves Hong Kong for work. Quickly, she becomes something Ava looks forward to.

And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong… Should Ava return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?

Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life-and announces herself as a singular new voice.

‘Naoise Dolan has the ability to uncomfortably poke at the dark unease inside oneself, looking behind the veneer of the perfect life and wonder if any of us are actually what we portray ourselves as. Whilst serving it up with a dollop of sarcasm and humour. Essential millennial reading.’ – Books Paper Scissors

Exciting Times tells the story of Ava, a twenty-something Dubliner living in Hong Kong, as she tries to find herself and make good life choices, with varying success. Dolan is often mentioned in the same breath as Sally Rooney, and if you loved Normal People, you’ll probably enjoy this too. It is one of those books so witty and carefully crafted that it constantly reminded me why I love words and language.’ – The Mainstreet Trading Company

Exciting Times, which was acquired in a seven-way bidding war, more than lives up to the hype … It teems with insight around class, race, language and sexuality. Likely to fill the Sally-Rooney-shaped hole in many readers’ lives.’ – Irish Times

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Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University. Exciting Times is her first novel, an excerpt from which was published in The Stinging FlyExciting Times has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize, Dylan Thomas Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards, Dalkey Literary Awards and Waterstones Book of the Year. Naoise was also shortlisted for the Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award in 2020.

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