“The Amusements” by Aingeala Flannery is the April 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.

Throughout April, we’ll be reading award-winning Irish author Aingeala Flannery’s “The Amusements,” which was first published by Penguin Books in June 2022.

Jaypers! It's launch day and 'The Amusements' is in the window of my local bookshop @DubrayBooks in Rathmines. Surreal! 😯 pic.twitter.com/FmcpqAbFcp

— Aingeala Flannery (@missflannery) June 22, 2022

Synopsis of “The Amusements”

In the seaside town of Tramore, County Waterford, visitors arrive in waves with the tourist season, reliving the best days of their childhoods in its caravan parks, chippers, and amusement arcades.

Local teenager Helen Grant is indifferent to the charm of her surroundings; she dreams of escaping to art college with her glamorous classmate Stella Swaine and, from there, taking on the world.

But leaving Tramore is easier said than done. Though they don't yet know it, Helen and Stella's lives are pulled by tides beyond their control.

Following the Grant and Swaine families and their neighbours over three decades, "The Amusements" is a luminous and unforgettable story about roads taken and not taken - and a brilliantly observed portrait of a small-town community.

Reviews for “The Amusements” 

"If you like dark humour, superbly drawn characters, caravan parks, fish suppers and slot machines, 'The Amusements' is what you've been waiting for." - Jan Carson

"The writing, so true to small-town life, is both shrewd and enlarging. Flannery writes like a grown-up; her flawed, hopeful characters live and grow on the page." - Anne Enright

"Its effortless evocations of the tides and pulls of small-town life are note perfect ... It's often very funny, sometimes sad, always authentic and perceptive, and hugely entertaining. Beautiful." - Donal Ryan

"A cracker of a book. Think Kevin Barry crossed with Elizabeth Strout. The writing is that good." - Kathleen Mac Machon

"[The setting of] Tramore is not only a character - it is the main character of 'The Amusements,' with its quotidian dramas and failed epiphanies and the magnetic pull it has over everyone who encounters it, from those on a family holiday, to those who are born, bred and die there. It was a joy to read." - Louise Nealon

"A fresh, funny, fiercely Irish novel about the vagaries of friendship, and Aingeala Flannery - wholly in charge of her lovable, eccentric cast - writes like a dream." - Nuala O'Connor

"A vibrant, evocative debut that brings the exploits of an Irish coastal town brilliantly to life." - Sarah Gilmartin

About Aingeala Flannery

Aingeala Flannery is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. She has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. Her short story "Visiting Hours" was the winner of the 2019 Harper's Bazaar Short Story Competition. In 2020 and 2021, she was awarded a Literature Bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland. Her work has appeared in "The Bath Anthology" and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio One as part of the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition. She lives in Dublin. "The Amusements" is her first book.