“Kala” by Colin Walsh is the November 2023 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.

"Kala," the first novel from Co Galway native Colin Walsh, quickly became a bestseller in Ireland and was recently named to the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year shortlist for the 2023 An Post Irish Book Awards.

You can read an excerpt of "Kala" here via Penguin Random House, and you can listen to Walsh discuss his debut novel here:

Synopsis of “Kala”

In the seaside town of Kinlough, on Ireland’s west coast, three old friends are thrown together for the first time in years. They – Helen, Joe and Mush – were part of an original group of six inseparable teenagers in the summer of 2003, with motherless, reckless Kala Lanann as their group’s white-hot centre. Soon after that summer’s peak, Kala disappeared without a trace.

Now it’s fifteen years later. Human remains have been discovered in the woods. Two more girls have gone missing. As past and present begin to collide, the estranged friends are forced to confront their own complicity in the events that led to Kala’s disappearance, and to try to stop Kinlough’s violent patterns repeating themselves once again…

Against the backdrop of a town suffocating on its own secrets, in a story that builds from a smoulder to a stunning climax, "Kala" brilliantly examines the sometimes brutal costs of belonging, as well as the battle in the human heart between vengeance and forgiveness, despair and redemption.

Reviews for “Kala"

"A gritty heartbreaker of a thriller… Part heartfelt coming-of-age tale, part brutal Irish noir, this is a spectacular read for Donna Tartt and Tana French fans." - Kirkus

"Tana French fans will relish 'Kala'" - Guardian, Best Summer Reads

"The thriller of the moment" - The i Paper, Best Summer Reads

"An addictive read with explosive revelation" - Daily Telegraph

"A compulsive joy" - Daily Mail

"'Kala' heralds an exciting new voice" - Observer

About Colin Walsh

Colin Walsh's short stories have won several awards including the RTE Francis MacManus Short Story Prize and the Hennessy Literary Award. In 2019 he was named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year. His writing has been published in the Stinging Fly, the Irish Times and broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. " Kala" is his first novel. He is from Galway and lives in Belgium.

(*Synopsis, reviews, and biographical information provided by Atlantic Books.)