The Wild Laughter

Pages: 208
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The Wild Laughter

Caoilinn Hughes

An exhilarating, anarchic look at contemporary Ireland, from one of the country's most exciting new voices
9781786077806 (7 May 2020)
RRP £14.99 / US$24.95

The Book


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. 


Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 208
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Caoilinn Hughes is the author of Orchid & the Wasp (Oneworld 2018), which won the Collyer Bristow Prize, was shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards, the Butler Literary Award and longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. Her poetry collection, Gathering Evidence (Carcanet 2014), won the Shine/Strong Award and was shortlisted for four other prizes. Her work has appeared in GrantaPOETRYTin HouseBest British PoetryBBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She has a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and she was recently Visiting Writer at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. For her short fiction, she won The Moth International Short Story Prize 2018 and an O.Henry Prize in 2019.


'The Wild Laughter is painfully smart, comically brilliant and boldly subversive. Hughes makes her subject matter entirely her own while providing a lacerating look at the world we live in.' 

- Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy

'What a profound, much needed, urgent novel. The Wild Laughter is dark and beautiful, and touches the heart of what deep suffering our political systems have brought upon the world, but seen in that clearest way - intimately, microscopically, through family. The myriad ways they can love, hurt and betray one another... So well done.' 

- Fatima Bhutto, author of The Runaways

'The Wild Laughter is a raucously intelligent, tough and tender black comedy written in jaggedly beautiful prose and confirms Caoilinn Hughes as a restlessly inventive, exciting new voice in Irish literature.'

- Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

'The Wild Laughter is a stunning piece of writing. Hughes' sentences are so well-crafted I read many of them several times and discovered fresh layers with each read. Her dialogue is razor sharp and shot through with Beckett-esque black humour. The characters are perfectly drawn. A strong and early contender for Irish novel of the year.'

- Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters

'Set in the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger, [The Wild Laughter] is a dark comedy on euthanasia.'

- Irish Times, Most Anticipated Titles 2020

'Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.' 

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

'Caoilinn Hughes is a writer of immense ability and vitality - she's a true natural, with the talent to match her ambition.'

- Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier

'A memorable, insightful portrait of a complex family in an equally complex economic and emotional situation. Caoilinn Hughes get the balance just right: the pathos is real but never heavy-handed; the humour is black but never mean-spirited. The Wild Laughter succeeds on all levels.'

- Patrick deWitt, author of French Exit

'From the first arresting paragraph of The Wild Laughter, Caoilinn Hughes enthrals us on a journey through contemporary Ireland, one that even the most far-flung reader will find delightful, in all of its hilarity, peculiarity and states of flux.' 

- Elnathan John, author of Born on a Tuesday

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