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Exciting Times: A Novel
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Published:
HarperCollins 2020
Status:
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Description

"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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/02/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062968777
ASIN:
B07XDK2NN2
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Naoise Dolan. (2020). Exciting Times: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Naoise Dolan. 2020. Exciting Times: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Naoise Dolan, Exciting Times: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Naoise Dolan. Exciting Times: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 03, 2020 16:16:09
Date Updated:
Dec 09, 2020 05:01:17
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May 15, 2022 14:04:28
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        Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. She studied at Trinity College, followed by a master's in Victorian literature at Oxford. She writes fiction, essays, criticism and features for publications including The London Review of Books, The Guardian and Vogue. Her debut novel Exciting Times was published by W&N in the UK and by Ecco in the US in 2020, and became a Sunday Times bestseller, widely translated and optioned for TV. She has been shortlisted and longlisted for several prizes, including The Women's Prize for Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

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shortDescription

"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...

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fullDescription

"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.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Jealousy and obsession, love and late capitalism, sex and the internet all come whirling together in a wry and bracing tale of class and privilege."
      • premium: False
      • source: O, the Oprah Magazine
      • content: "Edna O'Brien. Tana French. Sally Rooney. Enter fellow Irishwoman Dolan, whose knowing, superbly observed debut novel marks the young author as a major force. This sardonic rom-com chronicles the escapades of 22-year-old Ava, a desultory millennial teaching abroad inHong Kong, where she meets Julian, an aloof British banker, and Edith, a wealthy Chinese lawyer. What ensues is an enchantingly neurotic love triangle in a time of economic and existential tumult."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: "In fewer than 250 pages, [Dolan] has captured the touchstone millennial tension between sardonicism and sincerity — the electric ambivalence of figuring out how to be a person in these times. . . . Dolan has buttoned-up elocution, taut phrasing and sharp angles. . . . Exciting Times is a funny novel (both haha and weird), resisting the pull of melodrama in favor of a sharp point of view and an intense concern with language. . . . [and] is indeed engaged with the ways class, inequality and politics manifest in social life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "That dive into human consciousness . . . separates Dolan from the countrywoman to whom she is often compared, novelist Sally Rooney ("Normal People"). While both writers deal with class — offering cutting observations — Dolan pushes further to confront why we put up with it in the first place."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: "Wonderfully intuitive and fluid.... An examination of sex, queerness, self-sabotage, power, and privilege."
      • premium: False
      • source: Marie Claire
      • content: "A love triangle like you've never seen it before.... Wry and sardonic, Dolan relentlessly examines untold truths about love, classicism, and ambition."
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2020

        DEBUT This delightfully sardonic, insightful debut picks apart life at the whims of the economy, love, and self-sabotage. Ava has moved from Ireland to Hong Kong to teach English to children, a job that's so intense, she is expected not to go to the bathroom all day. She remains very much of working-class Dublin in her nervous dealings with the English and rich Irish people she meets but takes up with one of them, Julian, a stiffly unloving and Eton-ified banker. Ava then falls for a kind Hong Kong woman, Edith, but can't be honest with either partner, let alone herself, about her feelings or desires for the future. The first two sections of the book, which portray Ava's two relationships, are the most satisfying. The last section looks at the love triangle and can be frustrating. VERDICT Overall, this surprising novel is believable and piercingly written, with many hilarious lines, such as when Ava wonders if a nasty English character is "a real person or three Mitford sisters in a long coat." For fans of Rachel Khong's Goodbye, Vitamin. [See Prepub Alert, 12/2/19.]--Henrietta Verma, Credo Reference, New York, NY

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2020
        A young millennial finds herself in a love triangle with a man and woman. In Irish author Dolan's debut novel, 22-year-old narrator Ava relocates from Dublin to Hong Kong to teach grammar at a school for English-language learners. Noting that the school hires only white people, she remarks: "Like sharks' teeth, teachers dropped out and were replaced." From the jump, Ava approaches the world with cleareyed humor. In her first months as an expat, she meets Julian--a 28-year-old English banker--who seems aloof about everything except his job. As they fall into a quasi-relationship, Ava moves into his apartment, where Julian allows her to live rent-free. When Julian leaves for London on an extended work project, Ava meets Edith, a Hong Kong local and ambitious lawyer. With Ava still living in Julian's apartment, she and Edith fall into a quick friendship that evolves into a relationship. Telling neither the full truth about the other, Ava finds herself falling in love with Edith. During an evening stroll, she thinks: "I didn't need to know how other women went about being together. I could see it forever, for us: walking through cities, laughing at things that weren't that funny." When Julian tells her he's returning to Hong Kong, she must navigate the precarious situation she's inadvertently created. Ava--who has struggled throughout the novel to be vulnerable in often maddening ways--must make a decision: live comfortably or live truthfully. Politics, class, and race anxiously hover over the entire novel. After confiding that she called her college savings account her "abortion fund," she says: "I knew some women who saved with their friends, and they all helped whoever was unlucky. But I didn't trust anyone....The richer I got, the harder it would be for anyone to force me to do anything." Dolan's preoccupation with power is often couched in humor but always expertly observed. Her elegantly simple writing allows her ideas and musings to shine. A refreshingly wry and insightful debut.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 6, 2020
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 15, 2020
        Having recently uprooted herself to teach English in Hong Kong, young Irishwoman Ava befriends English banker Julian before becoming his lover, then his roommate, and, pointedly, not his girlfriend, though she's pretty sure she'd like to be. When Julian leaves for an extended work trip, another new friendship begins, also turning romantic, but this time it's clear: Ava and Edith, a lawyer and Hong Kong native, are girlfriends, and they're in love. Ava tells neither Julian nor Edith the full truth about the other, leading to certain tension when Julian returns. An excerpt of this novel was published in The Stinging Fly, edited by Dolan's fellow Irish novelist Sally Rooney; Rooney's fans should seek this out for its volleying dialogue, rich interiority, and perceptive writing on money, politics, and class. This has plenty of singular charms, too. Ava's grammar lessons for her young students provide a perch for some of Dolan's joyous linguistic backflips and canny cultural critiques. Dolan wheels readers deftly through Ava's thought spirals, too. "I'd never know if other people were as graphic as me in their daydreams and we all just pretended we weren't." A clever and deep novel of sex, connection, and the complexities of self-expression.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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2605
publisher
HarperCollins
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