"Exciting Times” by Naoise Dolan is the May selection for IrishCentral’s 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 IrishCentral's Book Club.

IrishCentral Book Club

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Throughout May, we’ll be reading “Exciting Times,” the debut novel from Dublin native Naoise Dolan that has become a Sunday Times bestseller and the winner of the Blackwells Debut of the Year and Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month.

English-language and translation rights for “Exciting Times” have been sold in over 20 territories, and it has been optioned for film and TV by Black Bear Pictures.

"Exciting Times" was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK and Ecco / Harper Collins in the US.

Synopsis of “Exciting Times” by Naoise Dolan

An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish ex-pat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer

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 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.

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.

(Synopsis provided by Ecco / Harper Collins Publishers)

Reviews for “Exciting Times” by Naoise Dolan

"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" - The Irish Times

"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

"I had real fun with Exciting Times. It is a very funny, spiky, Marxist, feminist comedy and it's really mean." - Zadie Smith

"Droll, shrewd and unafraid - a winning debut." - Hilary Mantel

"It's flawless." - Colm Tóibín

(Reviews provided by publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

About Naoise Dolan

Dublin native Naoise Dolan, 29, is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. After university, she lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, and London. 

At the age of 27, Dolan was diagnosed with autism, a topic she has gone on to discuss and write about. She identifies as queer.

She is a contributor to the LGBTQ+ rights anthology We Can Do Better Than This, edited by Amelia Abraham and published by Vintage.

Dolan has written essays, criticism, and features for publications including The London Review of Books, The Guardian, Vogue, Granta, The Sunday Times Style, Refinery29, WePresent, The i, The Dublin Review, and The Stinging Fly.

Her previous works include 'We'd Need to Manage It' for BBC Radio 4 (read by Evanna Lynch), 'Mother's Friend' for Port Magazine, 'Family News' for The Irish Times (longlisted for Irish Book Awards Short Story of the Year), and 'The Drummore Cromóg of Meadhbh Ní hUigín' for Weekend Magazine.

You can learn more about Dolan on her website, Instagram, and Twitter pages, and you can subscribe to her newsletter here.

IrishCentral Book Club

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.