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  • Exciting Times

  • Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021
  • By: Naoise Dolan
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Literature & Fiction
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (398 ratings)

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Summary

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 lawyer. Refreshingly enthusiastic and unapologetically earnest, Edith takes Ava to the theatre when Julian leaves Hong Kong for work. Quickly, she becomes something Ava looks forward to.

And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong....

©2019 Naoise Dolan (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Exciting Times

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • AD
  • 20-10-20

Exhausted by Ava’s tedious self-absorption

I initially found Ava’s self-critique of her slightly dirtbag personality refreshing and entertaining, but after hours of the stuff, compounded by her apparent inability to combine her self-reflection with any actionable change to address those aspects of her character, life, or choices with which she was dissatisfied, this book became a tiresome egotistical mope from a deeply unlikable character.

Her relationship with Edith entirely lacked substance: it felt sappy, two-dimensional and appeared to be founded entirely on Ava’s insecurities, obsessions and borderline pathological inability to tell the truth. As soon as her secret about Julian was out, so too was her flame for Edith.

Her relationship with Julian at least had chemistry, some edge and complexity of dialogue.

Can the author not write romantic relationships between women or was than intentional?

Besides the poorly crafted relationships, I found the portrayal of Ava’s queerness utterly bizarre. The only time that she, a woman who does a lot of reflecting, reflects on her queerness is at the time that she is actually with a woman. As soon as she’s back to sleeping with a man, this aspect of her vanishes entirely from the narrative. Are you only gay when you’re actively with a woman, when you’re back with a man you’re straight again, and the concept of bisexuality doesn’t exist…? For a book that has a fair amount to say on deconstructing stereotypes and heteronormativity, it sure did fall straight (pun intended) into that one.

As for the ending, given the character development up to that point, it just felt really implausible.

I greatly enjoyed the nuggets on language with which the book is peppered, and the narration is just lovely.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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What was the point?

Only finished it to see if there was any point or plot. Donut waste your time.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Don't.

50+ lesbian fiction books, this is the first I just can't finish. It's just vacuous of everything. Awful.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved listening, so beautifully written

Felt like listening in to someone's mind. loved the thoughts on English and Irish language throughout.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well worth a read.

Really enjoyed this. Unsentimental, honest account of a young girl trying to figure her shit out, away from the pressures of home and family.

1 person found this helpful

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Dull and overrated.

Had to read for book club. The only reason I didn't ditch after a few chapters. Unremarkable

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Smart, witty, contemporary

Ava is a young woman who minces no words, brooks no fools. While sadly under-appreciative of her own talents, she impresses others enough with her acerbic charms to become engaged in a complex sexual and emotional triangle with a British banker and a wealthy young lawyer. Set in the bustle of Hong Kong where ex-pats on high salaries dispute Brexit and lowly TEFL teachers (of which Ava is one) struggle to pay the rent, the book sizzles along. Irish people - not to mention TEFL teachers - will get a kick out of Ava’s take on the English language. Also enjoyable are those scathing ripostes that Ava so deftly fires at her lovers, which will make the reader wistful they never came up with similar gems in their romantic adventures. All is not quite as hard-assed as Ava would wish it, however, as she finds out when she really falls in love. A stylish and refreshing debut. Recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Naoise Dolan is a wonder!

This is an astounding debut; blisteringly funny & deeply moving! A sequel please!

Comhghairdeas!

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Disappointing

Unfortunately this book is the opposite of exciting. I really didn’t find there was much to the story and struggled to stay engaged throughout.
You don’t warm to or even get to know any of the characters and the ending seemed pointless as well. Overall would not recommend.

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As sharp as a paper cut.

My only disappointment was that Naoise Dolan hasn’t written another book yet. I have stolen some of her lines and will definitely drop them into my conversations to make me sound more entertaining than I actually am.