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Summary

Named a most anticipated title for 2020 by the Financial Times, The Irish Times and Rté.

Hilarious, poignant and utterly fresh, The Wild Laughter cements Caoilinn Hughes' position as one of Ireland's most audacious, nuanced and insightful young writers.

It’s 2008, and the Celtic Tiger has left devastation in its wake. Brothers Hart and Cormac Black are waking up to a very different Ireland - one that widens the chasm between them and brings their beloved father to his knees. Facing a devastating choice that will put their livelihoods - and even their lives - on the line, the brothers soon learn that the biggest danger comes when there is nothing to lose.

A sharp snapshot of a family and a nation suddenly unmoored, this epic-in-miniature explores cowardice and sacrifice, faith rewarded and abandoned, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we resist. Hilarious, poignant and utterly fresh, The Wild Laughter cements Caoilinn Hughes’ position as one of Ireland’s most audacious, nuanced and insightful young writers.

©2020 Caoilinn Hughes (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing

Critic reviews

"Caoilinn Hughes is a writer of immense ability and vitality - she’s a true natural, with the talent to match her ambition." (Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier)

"So funny and bleak. I loved the madness, the tone, the ending, the realisation, The Third Policeman charge of the whole thing." (Roddy Doyle, Booker prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha)

"Extraordinary.... A book of wicked intelligence and tender heart." (Max Porter, author of Lanny)

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a fine performance

Chris O'Dowd brought this story to life and it was his energy and perceptiveness that kept me engaged. The Wild Laughter felt too mapped out. What was missing were more subtle and layered observations that came from the gut. My wish was that Caoilinn Hughes had tried less and been more present within "the landscape" of the lives she has portrayed.

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Grim family saga

Lovely poetic prose can't disguise a bleak story with almost no happiness about it.

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Overrated

I listened to the whole thing, waiting to become interested in the main character. This never happened. It did give me an insider view on how and why arrogant men have sh*t sex with women though, which was as appalling as it was edifying. Human w*nksock. Nice. Maybe this story is only interesting if you're that kind of man, hence all the awards from other d*ckheads. If you're a woman or have a soul, don't bother with this godawful sh*te. The only satisfaction I got from this book was that it all ended badly for pretty much everyone. It wasted my time.

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Excellent!

Really enjoyed this book - absorbing and funny - with excellent narration by Chris O'Dowd!

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Mesmerising prose

This is a sensational book. The writing is outstanding. A perfect balance of humorous and tenderness, never becoming overly sentimental. I think Hart Black is one of my favourite fictional characters ever.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shrewsie Shrew
  • 09-09-21

Great narration, poorly written women.

I find it hard to believe a woman wrote this book, if you told me that Jonathan Franzen had written this I would absolutely 100% believe you with no questions asked. The women in this book are so poorly written. I would not have finished the book except I was enjoying Chris O'Dowd's narration of the audiobook. 2.5 stars, I can't hang with unlikeable characters doing foolish things even if the author does handle them with kid gloves.

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  • ElAel
  • 27-07-20

The Wild Laughter

There is a weird doubling back repeat ending to this recording that I do not understand. Otherwise a great story! Chris O'Dowd's narration style of this first-person perspective story was superb in its roughness and imperfection. Highly recommend!