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The Wild Laughter

Winner of the 2021 Encore Award

Caoilinn Hughes

 

‘A grand feat of comic ingenuity, mischievous and insightful, and full of resonance for the way we live now… So original and vibrant.’ Encore Award Judges

FINALIST FOR THE AN POST IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2020, THE RTÉ RADIO 1 LISTENERS’ CHOICE AWARD 2020 & THE DALKEY EMERGING WRITER AWARD 2021

LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE & THE i COMEDY WOMEN IN PRINT PRIZE, 2021

AN IRISH TIMES, IRISH SUNDAY TIMESIRISH INDEPENDENT & SUNDAY INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2020

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 will put their livelihood, even their lives, on the line, the brothers soon learn that 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. 

  • Publication date: May 6, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781786078599
  • RRP: £8.99
  • Pages: 208
  • Publication date: June 18, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786077806
  • RRP: £14.99
  • Pages: 208
  • Publication date: June 18, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786077820
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 225

Reviews

'Powerful...darkly adventurous... An Irish Cain and Abel.'

Guardian

'A grand feat of comic ingenuity, mischievous and insightful, and full of resonance for the way we live now... So original and vibrant.'

Encore Award Judges

'I loved this book. So funny and bleak. I loved the madness, the tone, the ending, the realisation, The Third Policeman charge of the whole thing.'

Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author of The Commitments

'Exquisite prose and a distinctive portrayal of contemporary life in rural Ireland, conjuring laughter in the face of death with stunning originality.'

Dalkey Book Festival Emerging Writer judges

'A razor-sharp snapshot of a family and a nation in trouble, in language that is vital and richly inventive... A remarkable achievement... An exhilarating and moving story of an Ireland in disarray.'

Irish Times

'[A] riotous dark comedy…with much to relish in the crunchy vernacular and ribald humour… Hughes captures a feverish moment of country-wide crisis in a first-rate tale of family debt that isn’t only financial.'

Daily Mail

'Brilliant. A hilarious, poetical black comedy... Do read it.'

Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

‘The brothers’ relationship is a sharply rendered study in sibling rivalry… a very funny novel. There’s a spiky levity to dialogue and narration alike, with liberal sprinklings of snark, gallows humour and word play… The story’s elegiac quality is well served by Hughes’ distinctive prose, which blends earthy vernacular with belletristic high style… The Wild Laughter is celebratory in its own peculiar way, a sombre and sardonic paean to the “culchies” from whom nearly all of us are descended.’

Financial Times, Houman Barekat

'A talented writer who is skilled in character and language, Hughes plays masterfully with her syntax in this novel... [Her] poetry background rings true in this second novel, her lyrical voice and witty humour carrying the otherwise heavy story.'

Books, Ireland

'A finely tuned symphony... Hughes's dark comedy reads like a post-boom Beckett, if he'd been let run riot on a heart-scald of a potato farm in Co Roscommon... Dazzling doesn't even come close.' 

Sunday Independent (Ireland)

'A dark, epic family saga about rural Ireland… The end is as shocking as it is inevitable...delivering a gut punch that both holds a mirror to Ireland’s recent past and warns of the dangers of being too in thrall to ancient history.'

i

'Some of the best moments in the novel come from minor characters... There's a darkness to this novel that makes it worthy of attention... It will be interesting to see where [Hughes'] obvious gifts take her next.'

New York Times

Caoilinn Hughes

Caoilinn Hughes’ latest novel, The Wild Laughter (2020) won the Encore Award 2021, was longlisted for the 2021 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Emerging Writer Literary Award, the An Post Irish Novel of the Year 2020 and the RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award. Her first novel, Orchid & the Wasp (2018), won the Collyer Bristow Prize 2019, was shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards and the Butler Literary Award, and longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the International DUBLIN Literary Award 2020. Her poetry collection, Gathering Evidence (Carcanet, 2014), won the Irish Times Strong/Shine Award. Her short fiction won The Moth Short Story Prize 2018, an O. Henry Prize in 2019, and the Irish Book Awards’ Story of the Year 2020. She holds a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is currently the Oscar Wilde Centre Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. 

Author page

More books by Caoilinn Hughes

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