A sharply observed satire by young Irish writer Naoise Dolan.
Ava is a 22-year-old Irish foreign worker, teaching English to children in Hong Kong. When she meets Julian, a smart yet obnoxious banker, she moves into his apartment and starts a casual relationship with him. The two often spar on economic and politic issues, Ava playing the deadpan socialist and Julian smug with his capitalist assertions. Ava knows she's somewhat of a hypocrite, living rent free off her banker friend, but she ploughs ahead nonetheless. An emotional spanner is thrown in the works when Ava meets Edith, a young Hong Kong lawyer, and the two start a relationship. Things become increasingly complicated as Ava keeps the true nature of her relationship with Julian secret. When Julian arrives back in Hong Kong after a work jaunt, the manipulative Ava must do some explaining.
Naoise Dolan is a young Irish writer and Exciting Times is her debut. Apart from being a compelling portrait of modern day relationships, the novel also provides a razor sharp analysis of money, power and class. Dolan's narrative shimmers brilliantly due to its fierce intelligence, sly humour and ability to illuminate the hidden ways in which power is entrenched. A new voice to watch out for.
Exciting Times, by Naoise Dolan. Published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson. $32.99
North Melbourne Books