An intimate, sharply funny novel about a couple heading toward their wedding, and the three friends who may draw them apart. Meet Celine and Luke. For all intents and purposes, the happy couple. Luke (a serial cheater) and Celine (more interested in piano than domestic life) plan to marry in a year. Archie (the best man) should be moving on from his love for Luke and up the corporate ladder, but he finds himself utterly stuck. Phoebe (the bridesmaid and Celine’s sister) just wants to get to the bottom of Luke’s frequent unexplained disappearances. And Vivian (a wedding guest) is the only one with any emotional distance, and observes her friends like ants in a colony. As the wedding approaches and these five lives intersect, each character will find themselves looking for a path to their happily ever after—but does it lie at the end of an aisle? In her wry, sprightly, and unmistakable voice, Naoise Dolan makes the marriage plot entirely her own in a sparkling ensemble novel that is both ferociously clever and supremely enjoyable.
An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer. Ava moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment. When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands. Enter Edith. A Hong Kong-born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she 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.