Orchid & the Wasp

Pages: 352
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Orchid & the Wasp

Caoilinn Hughes

An anarchic and hilarious portrait of a downwardly mobile family in post-crash Dublin
Hardback
9781786073655 (7 Jun 2018)
RRP £12.99
Paperback
9781786074201 (7 Jun 2018)
RRP £12.99

The Book

 

'Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.' - Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See 

An unforgettable young woman navigates Dublin, London and New York, striving to build a life raft for her loved ones in the midst of economic and familial collapse

In this dazzlingly original debut novel, award-winning Irish writer Caoilinn Hughes introduces a heroine of mythic proportions in the form of one Gael Foess. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, Gael observes from a young age how a person's ambitions and ideals can be compromised. 

When Gael's financier father walks out during the economic crash of 2008, her family fractures. Her mother, a once-formidable orchestral conductor, becomes a shadow of her former self, and a tragic incident prevents her unwell brother Guthrie from finishing school. Determined not to let her loved ones fall victim to circumstance, Gael leaves Dublin for the leather-lined, coke-dusted social clubs of London, then Manhattan's gallery scene during the throes of the Occupy movement, always working an angle, but slowly becoming a stranger to those who know her.

Written in electric, heart-stopping prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a novel about gigantic ambitions and social upheaval, chewing through sexuality, class, and politics, and crackling with joyful, anarchic fury. It challenges bootstraps morality, questioning what we owe one another and what we earn, what makes for a good life, and how events in our lives can turn us into people we never intended to be. A first novel of astonishing talent, Orchid & the Wasp announces Caoilinn Hughes as one of the most exciting literary writers working today.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 352
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Caoilinn Hughes is an Irish writer whose poetry collection Gathering Evidence won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award and the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for both the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Pigott Poetry Prize. She is a fellow of the James Merrill Foundation, and the Bogliasco Foundation, and was awarded a Tin House Writers Workshop Scholarship for Summer 2017, a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland, and The Ireland Funds Monaco Award. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Granta, POETRY, Best British Poetry, BBC Radio 3, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She divides her time between her native Ireland and the Netherlands.

Reviews

Orchid & the Wasp is a gorgeous novel told in an onrush of wit and ferocity. Art-forging, smack-talking, long-distance-running Gael Foess, three times smarter than everyone around her, proves to be an unforgettable heroine, and her journey will rattle your most basic assumptions about money, ambition, and the nature of love. Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.'

- Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See

Orchid & the Wasp is an ambitious, richly inventive and highly entertaining account of the way we live now. Caoilinn Hughes writes with authority and insight, and her novel is as up-to-date as tomorrow's financial-page headlines.'

- John Banville, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea

‘Caoilinn Hughes is the real thing - an urgent, funny, painstaking and heartfelt writer. Orchid & the Wasp is a startling debut full of the moral complexity, grief and strange bewilderments of humanity. As the world spins ever more quickly in response to the demands of grifters, parasites and liars, this book offers a troubling, beautiful and wise response.'

- A. L. Kennedy, Costa Prize-winning author of Day and Serious Sweet

‘A razor-sharp wit and an astonishing psychological and emotional perceptiveness combine to yield uncommonly rich portraiture in this bracing book by a deadly talented writer, in prose so refined one slows to savour each beautifully unfolding sentence. Unsentimental, yet sneakily moving and given to surprising bouts of joy.'

- Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

‘Hughes delivers a compelling exploration of what it means to create art, skewering the arbitrary restrictions of art-world gatekeepers along the way. At the emotional heart of this book lies a darker question, though: What does it mean to make a performance of your own life, in service of your family, when the cost might be to lose them forever? As strange, musical, and carefully calculated as its unusual heroine.'

- Kirkus

‘Gael, the young heroine of Orchid & the Wasp, is a magnificent and assured creation, breathtakingly smart, never self-pitying, impossible for others to manage, my favorite discovery this year. Hughes' characters are rare, like no one you've read before. This is an entirely original novel, dazzling and beautiful, disturbingly cold and insistent.'

- David Vann, author of Legend of a Suicide

Orchid & the Wasp is a tremendously engaging novel, brimming with sparky humour and astute observations. Caoilinn Hughes' prose fizzes with wit and intelligence. A joy to read.'

- Danielle McLaughlin, Saboteur Award-wining author of Dinosaurs on Other Planets

‘Fresh, playful and exuberant: Hughes has arrived with a heady style that is full of surprise and invention.'

- Paul Lynch, author of Grace

‘In lush, envy-inducing prose we're introduced to Gael Foess, the spikiest adult-in-training since Lolita, who has parents worthy of a Roald Dahl novel, in their poor caretaking efforts and self-absorption. We can only hang on in wonder as we witness the savvy Gael's progression through life from such beginnings. Caoilinn Hughes' crafted, intricate language is a joy and her characters strut their many flaws with panache. Orchid & the Wasp is an up-to-the-minute, radiant debut from a deeply talented writer.'

- Nuala O’Connor, author of Miss Emily

‘Caoilinn Hughes has given us an unforgettable character in Gael - an unflinchingly wise and wise-cracking guide through our fractured times. Hers is a story that holds the fun-house mirror to the society we have built of greed and twisted finance. From the doomed Irish boom to the Occupy movement, the novel lays bare the impoverished spirit that led to economic collapse while providing us a path out of it. By turns poetic, hilarious and raw, this novel gives us hope that love and the retrieval of spirit are not only achievable, but worth pursuing to the very last sentence.'

- Ana Menéndez, Pushcart Prize-winning author of In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd

‘Though the stories she tells work their way through elaborate worlds, it is her characters, detailed with sharp and subtle grace, which power the engine of Caoilinn Hughes's vivid prose.'

- Amelia Gray, author of Isadora and Gutshot