"Old and new Ireland clash, and warring brothers collide – this short novel is full of memorable characters and beautiful lines."
Whenever a title is released by independent publishers Oneworld, I take notice. It’s such an astonishing feat that this small outfit has been behind two recent Booker Prize winners (A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James and The Sellout by Paul Beatty). With that in mind, I came to The Wild Laughter with high expectations, and it didn’t disappoint. This is a dark and comic tale set just after the economic crash of 2008 in Roscommon in Ireland. When two sibling rivals, Hart and Cormac, are asked by their terminally ill father to end his life, they must overcome their differences. Hughes does an incredibly skilled job of balancing the tough themes of economic difficulties and personal strife with a sense of levity. It’s no beach read but there are brilliantly humorous moments. A talented author whose work I’ll be watching.