Ireland has moved forward into wild and exciting times with sexuality, religion and family life ditching traditional norms. This is the world that Gael inhabits as she ventures out and away from compromise and the daily grind. As a fellow anarchist, I relished this uncompromising young woman who breaks free from the cloak of expectations to discover herself without interference or parental assistance. Orchid & the Wasp grabbed my attention while pushing me forward at breakneck speed to its cracking conclusion.
Recommended by Mary Burnham, Dubray Dun Laoghaire.
'Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.' - Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
A dazzlingly original debut set in Dublin, London and New York, exploring the ethical underbelly of contemporary society through the coming-of-age of an utterly singular heroine: Gael Foess
Orchid & the Wasp brings to life the charged, compulsive voice of Gael Foess - daughter of a self-interested investment banker and a once-formidable orchestral conductor, and sister to a vulnerable younger brother - as she strives to build a life raft in the midst of economic and familial collapse. Moving by wits alone, Gael cuts a swathe through the leather-lined, coke-dusted social clubs of London, the New York gallery scene and birth-throes of the Occupy movement.
Written in heart-stoppingly vivid prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a modern-day Bildungsroman that chews through sexuality, class and contemporary politics and crackles with joyful fury and anarchic gall. It examines how we can fail our loved ones by what we want for them; what makes for a good life; what we are owed and what we must earn; and how events in our lives can turn us into people we never intended to be. A first novel of astonishing talent, Orchid & the Wasp announces Caoilinn Hughes as one of the most exciting literary writers working today.