"The Wild Laughter” by Caoilinn Hughes is the August selection for the IrishCentral Book Club.
Each month, we will pick a new Irish book or a great book by an Irish author and celebrate the amazing ability of the Irish to tell a good story for the IrishCentral Book Club.
Throughout August, we’ll be reading “The Wild Laughter" by Caoilinn Hughes, the winner of the 2021 Encore Award as well as the Irish Times, Irish Sunday Times, Irish Independent, and Sunday Independent Book of the Year 2020.
First published in June 2020 by OneWorld Publications, "The Wild Laughter" is available in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audio, where it is narrated by Irish actor Chris O'Dowd.
Today is publication day for The Wild Laughter 🥳 It wouldn’t be published or good or good looking or grammatical without my indie publisher @OneworldNews, my editor @Jule9 + my agents @BillClegg_ + @AEEWebber. I’m not in the Uk/Ireland to beam worryingly at booksellers but 🙏🏻🥴 pic.twitter.com/5zZhn3EUu1— Caoilinn Hughes (@CaoilinnHughes) June 18, 2020
Synopsis of “The Wild Laughter” by Caoilinn Hughes
It's 2008, and the Celtic Tiger has left devastation in its wake. Brothers Hart and Cormac Black are waking up to a very different Ireland - one that widens the chasm between them and brings their beloved father to his knees. Facing a devastating choice that risks their livelihood, if not their lives, their biggest danger comes when there is nothing to lose.
A sharp snapshot of a family and a nation suddenly unmoored, this epic-in-miniature explores cowardice and sacrifice, faith rewarded and abandoned, the stories we tell ourselves, and the ones we resist.
Hilarious, poignant, and utterly fresh, The Wild Laughter cements Caoilinn Hughes' position as one of Ireland's most audacious, nuanced, and insightful young writers.
Reviews for “The Wild Laughter” by Caoilinn Hughes
“A grand feat of comic ingenuity, mischievous and insightful, and full of resonance for the way we live now... So original and vibrant.” - Encore Award Judges
“A razor-sharp snapshot of a family and a nation in trouble, in language that is vital and richly inventive... A remarkable achievement... An exhilarating and moving story of an Ireland in disarray.” - Irish Times
“I loved this book. So funny and bleak. I loved the madness, the tone, the ending, the realisation, The Third Policeman charge of the whole thing.” - Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author of The Commitments
“A finely tuned symphony... Hughes's dark comedy reads like a post-boom Beckett, if he'd been let run riot on a heart-scald of a potato farm in Co Roscommon... Dazzling doesn't even come close.” - Sunday Independent (Ireland)
“Some of the best moments in the novel come from minor characters... There's a darkness to this novel that makes it worthy of attention... It will be interesting to see where [Hughes'] obvious gifts take her next.” - New York Times
“'Hughes is attentive to the larger political context of her narrative and to more granular details of language and place, and her prose is vivid and unsparing... A striking novel about fathers and sons in 21st-century Ireland.” - Kirkus
About the author Caoilinn Hughes
Galway native Caoilinn Hughes holds BA and MA degrees from Queen's University of Belfast, and a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Her latest novel, The Wild Laughter (2020), won the Encore Award 2021, was longlisted for the 2021 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Emerging Writer Literary Award, the An Post Irish Novel of the Year 2020 and the RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award.
Her first novel, Orchid & the Wasp (2018), won the Collyer Bristow Prize 2019, was shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards and the Butler Literary Award, and longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the International DUBLIN Literary Award 2020.
Her poetry collection, Gathering Evidence (Carcanet, 2014), won the Irish Times Strong/Shine Award.
Her short fiction won The Moth Short Story Prize 2018, an O. Henry Prize in 2019, and the Irish Book Awards’ Story of the Year 2020. Hughes is the 2021 Oscar Wilde Centre Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin.
Looking for Irish book recommendations or to meet with others who share your love for Irish literature? Join IrishCentral’s Book Club on Facebook and enjoy our book-loving community.