Exciting Times

Paperback edition released 04/03/2021

by Naoise Dolan

Relationship Stories Humorous fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Exciting Times

Smirky and sharp insights meet unlikely connections in this wry and modern relationship tale.

Ava moves to Hong Kong from her native Ireland to take up a badly paid job teaching English grammar. With cynicism and cutting humour throughout, her connections with Julian and Edith allow Ava the opportunity to experience a more comfortable life away from a cramped flatshare and even a chance at happiness. 


Exciting Times Synopsis

When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents' money, it's called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she's not sure what to call it, but it involves:

- a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children;

- Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room;

- Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks;

- money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections. Exciting times ensue.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781474613460
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Naoise Dolan
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Primary Genre Relationship Stories
Other Genres:

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Naoise Dolan Press Reviews

Withering, stylish prose that is at times deceptively simple but always flush with caustic wit, I savoured every shrewd line. - Dazed

We loved Dolan's evisceration of Insta culture - SAVAGE. -- Cosmopolitan - Cosmopolitan

A sharp, witty debut. - Stylist

Naoise Dolan's debut is whipsmart, sharp and full of delightfully perceptive observations - Daily Express

Snappy, sharp and smart [with] painfully funny insight that has drawn justifiable comparisons to Sally Rooney - Sunday Express

A wry, stylish debut ... In this witty satire of the haves and have nots, Dolan explores tender, insightful truths about the vagaries of modern love - Esquire

A sharp, witty and ultimately moving debut ... Dolan brings a fresh insight into modern love that will inevitably make this a hit among those who love Normal People - Independent

I savoured every shrewd line - Dazed

The Irish debut novel everyone is talking about - The Gloss

With Naoise Dolan on the literary scene, there are EXCITING TIMES ahead - i-D

Incredibly readable - Belfast Telegraph

Dolan is a writer entirely in command of her craft ... The writing fairly sizzles on the page... EXCITING TIMES is an acerbic tale of sex and love, set in the social media age - The Herald Scotland

What sets Dolan apart is her humour. EXCITING TIMES is riddled with snappy one liners and witty interplay. A fantastic first novel - Metro

A fresh and funny debut about love and self-knowledge ... affecting and powerful - Guardian

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking... Ava is a most interesting literary heroine ... I rarely find myself rooting for a character as much as I did for her ... A whip-smart, funny and poignant story of modern love, accessible to all. It should be on everyone's 2020 must read list - Irish Sunday Independent

A dazzling debut... Dolan's writing is precise, acerbic and enviably good, and her characters are perfectly drawn - Evening Standard

The most talked about novel of the summer - The Sunday Times Style

A wily, caustic story about young love ... Sentence-by-sentence, EXCITING TIMES is both a joy and a triumph... I delighted in the brilliance of Dolan's deadpan style. - The i newspaper

A Book of the Year in The Sunday Times and a Best Book of the Summer in The i newspaper. A wonderfully sharp, comic writer, adept at making wisecracks in the caustic, knock-em-off, knock-em-down tradition of Dorothy Parker, Joan Rivers and Nora Ephron ... [Ava] is Bridget Jones's sour sister, or Bridget Jones marinaded in vinegar... I found myself purring with pleasure. I loved EXCITING TIMES's snap and its bite ... This is comic writing at the highest level, created with such apparent ease that it seems to dance across the page ... At its best, EXCITING TIMES reminds me of Martin Amis's first novel, The Rachel Papers. In its icy take on consumerism it's also reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. Like both those novels it seems to be brilliantly in tune with its times. - Daily Mail

THIS BOOK!!!! It's as BRILLIANT as everyone says!!!! I DEVOURED it and it delighted me with its ideas and made me LAUGH so much and gave me hope. Naoise Dolan is thrillingly honest about class iniquity, sexism, poverty, the after-effects of colonialism - it's so REFRESHING. I kept seizing on paragraphs and shouting, THIS!! THIS IS THE THING I WAS THINKING BUT COULDN'T ARTICULATE!!! - Marian Keyes

I tore through EXCITING TIMES, a sharp, smart, witty modern love story. I loved it - David Nicholls

I've been pushing Exciting Times on everyone I know: it is the perfect blend of caustically clever and emotionally engaging. Some of Dolan's pithy observations of her characters are the best I've read since Edward St Aubyn - Observer

I wouldn't be surprised if it emerges as the book of the summer... A rich, sharply witty story made out of the frictions and complexities of young love ... Kept me rapt until the final page - The Times

From the opening page, Ava's voice is electrifying and frequently very funny; Naoise Dolan's debut novel really is as good as everyone says it is. - Irish Times

EXCITING TIMES is a joy from start to finish, and the perfect balm for these times-fresh, funny, sharp. Everyone should read it right now. A literary and hilarious tour de force. - Katherine Heiny, author of Standard Deviation

A love story about three expats in Hong Kong - teacher Ava, banker Julian, and the alluring Edith - and explores the nuances and uncertainties of modern love - Cosmopolitan, 'Best Books of 2020'

Constant, breezy fun - Telegraph

An effervescent snapshot of millennial, attachment-avoidant dating - Daily Mail

Half Sally Rooney love triangle, half glitzy CRAZY RICH ASIANS high living - and guaranteed to please - Vogue, 'Books We Cant Wait to Read in 2020'

Dry, sharp, meticulously observed ... A frankly sensational book that's flawlessly executed - Pandora Sykes on The High Low

Ice cool, self aware and very funny. Shades of Lorrie Moore and THE BELL JAR. - Graham Norton

Echoes of Sally Rooney's CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS resound in this exacting debut novel - Oprah magazine

2020 is set to be a huge year for Naoise Dolan - Irish Examiner

Meet the new Sally Rooney... That might sound like hyperbole but this tale brings fresh and on-point insights into modern love that'll make it a hit with lovers of NORMAL PEOPLE - Stylist

EXCITING TIMES is more caustic and cynical than Rooney's writing, if just as clever ... All the fretting over love and class could be compared to Austen or Wharton, but her light treatment of bisexuality and polyamory is utterly 2020 - Guardian

Among the most hotly tipped debut authors for 2020 - The Bookseller

Finance, sex, cynicism and unspoken feelings are swirled together in a can labelled 'Hong Kong' in this modern love triangle - Irish Independent

This debut from Dolan explores a love affair between an English teacher and a banker in Hong Kong and the lawyer who blows the whole thing sky-high. Definitely one to watch. - Stylist, 'Best new books for 2020'

Following the love triangle between three expats living in Hong Kong, EXCITING TIMES dissects the financial and personal transactions that make up life - Platinum magazine

A modern love story that will live with you long after you've finished it -- Molly Aitken author of THE ISLAND CHILD We're really, um, excited about this sharp, smart debut - Red magazine

Dolan's debut lives up to the hype, a hypnotic tale -- Sarah Hughes - The i newspaper

So wry, witty and insightful Forensically brilliant - an elegant and painfully funny portrait of greed and hunger, love and indifference Brilliantly funny, surgically sharp, furiously political. Expect to hear lots about EXCITING TIMES next year Read if you like ANIMALS by Emma Jane Unsworth, TRICK MIRROR by Jia Tolentino, THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath - Sunday Times Style

This is icily brilliant stuff. A poised and surgical examination of class, sex, language and self-making, with some flat-out enviable jokes Devastatingly perceptive and articulate. It's a joy to encounter a book so compulsively readable and painfully funny while simultaneously deeply insightful on love, on sexuality, on social class, on their links as terribly inextricable in the 21st century as they ever were. Dolan is a major talent and this is a formidable debut A funny, smart and sensitive exploration of love, privilege and bisexuality that had me gripped from the first page. Dolan's sentences are like a splash of cold water to the face Hands down one of the most anticipated debuts of the year ... A piercingly provocative look at modern love and power games. - BookRiot

A sharp, funny account of a contemporary relationship, told tenderly and with biting, bright insight. The funniest writer you will read this year... Every page crackles ... Very funny ... Ultimately a very moving story, one that occupies a small sliver of time and space, but manages a lasting emotional tinnitus ... Naoise Dolan is not the new anyone. She's entirely herself, and that's plenty - Sunday Life, Irish Independent

A funny, smart, contemporary love story. Perfect for fans of Sally Rooney and Emma Jane Unsworth - Sunday Times Style

Lucky us ... EXCITING TIMES will brighten lockdown ... Very funny ... Extremely sharp ... Insightful and raw - Observer

Dazzling ... So brilliantly executed ... Coming-of-age love is told in technicolour ... Banging lines follow banging lines. Your underlining pen destroys the pages ... With EXCITING TIMES comes a rare and indeed exciting talent, a cacophony of our times, a treat for the socially distanced - Irish Independent

EXCITING TIMES more than lives up to the hype ... Likely to fill the Sally-Rooney-shaped hole in many readers' lives. - Irish Times

A modern love story ... astute, sardonic and highly emotionally aware ... Heralding for sure a new star in Irish writing - Irish Times

Witty, compelling and with a razor-sharp social commentary. I guzzled it. -- Pandora Sykes Fiercely intelligent, brutally funny and written with such heart, EXCITING TIMES announces an impressive new voice in literature. Droll, shrewd and unafraid - a winning debut - Hilary Mantel, author of WOLF HALL

I had real fun with EXCITING TIMES. It is a very funny, spiky, Marxist, feminist comedy and it's really mean. - Zadie Smith

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781474613460
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781474613453
Publication date: 16/04/2020
Format: Paperback

View All Editions

About Naoise Dolan

Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University. EXCITING TIMES is her first novel, an excerpt from which was published in The Stinging Fly.

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