“This debut novel about an Irish expat millennial teaching English and finding romance in Hong Kong is half Sally Rooney love triangle, half glitzy Crazy Rich Asians high living—and guaranteed to please.” —Vogue
A RECOMMENDED BOOK FROM:
The New York Times Book Review * Vogue * TIME * Marie Claire * Elle * O, the Oprah Magazine * The Washington Post * Esquire * Harper's Bazaar * Bustle * PopSugar * Refinery 29 * LitHub * Debutiful
An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer
Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, spends her days teaching English to rich children.
Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava, to have sex and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than "I like you a great deal."
Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her.
And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong... Should Ava return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?
Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life—and announces herself as a singular new voice.
In Dolan's wry, tender debut, a young Dubliner navigates her love life and sexuality. Ava, 22, has a murky friendship with London-born and Oxford-educated banker Julian, in his late 20s, whom she'd met at a bar during her first month in Hong Kong, where she teaches English. They treat each other with ironic regard, speaking mostly in quips about his privilege and their mutual maybe-attraction. Ava moves into his flat, and they soon start sleeping together. The novel picks up speed after Julian travels to London for work and Ava meets Edith Zhang, who is both different from Julian in many ways stylish, female, a Hong Kong local and similar boarding school, Cambridge, a well-off family. On Ava's 23rd birthday, Edith kisses her, and they fall headlong into an earnest, garrulous, and secret love, as Edith isn't out to her family. When Julian writes to say he will be returning in a month, Ava, who hasn't disclosed the true nature of her and Julian's relationship to Edith, must decide what she really wants. Dolan starts slowly, but gradually the ironic distancing of Ava's narration is pierced by questions from Ava's students and her transformative relationship with Edith. Dolan's smart, brisk debut works as charming comedy of manners, though it packs less of a punch when it comes to class consciousness.
Smart, challenging and contemplative. As a fan of Sally Rooney, I found the writing similar but different. Thank you for this enlightening and transportive story.
I bought this book after reading a review that called it a “Crazy Rich Asians” plus Sally Rooney and I was hooked. It definitely lived up to the description and my expectations. Contemporary and witty.
What a waste of time and money. I know the title should have told me it would just be about the mundane lives of the book’s characters but this was beyond boring.
Also I could not believe the beginning of chapter 34 when Ava was sick and she refused a mask because she did a google search stating “mask was likelier if anything, to breed germs by trapping hot air.”
That’s all we need right now- someone who is spreading pseudoscience in a novel.