Death is a bird of paradise: we all know what it is, but it can be many different things that aren’t at all alike.
Is thirty already too late to reconsider? Natalie, usually so conscientious, can’t remember why her life is following Plan B. Dan’s unclouded vision of the universe has never extended to understanding his wife. But their marriage has some precious ember at its core, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, trader Mike is relieved to discover that it doesn’t matter if there’s a void where the weightiest substance of your character should be. Fearless mountaineer Brenda sweats and trembles in a crowded room. And James, pacing and fidgeting in a cage of his own design, doesn’t know how to unfollow his dreams.
This vivaciously intelligent novel follows five characters as they confront a painful truth that none is expecting so soon, but that might just help them learn how to live.
‘Startling and sad but also sly, punchy and full of heart — I admire Maloney for going where few novels dare.’
Julie Myerson, author of The Stopped Heart
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‘A crisply written and ferociously intelligent account of a disparate group of thirtysomethings trying to make sense of the world they inhabit, and a welcome reminder that the English novel — as opposed to all the other kinds clamouring for our attention — is alive and well.’
D.J. Taylor, author of The Prose Factory
‘[Maloney] writes about everything on a breath-taking continuum from humorous to brutally realist … genius.’
Anna Hollingsworth, Shiny New Books
‘This is a richly funny novel, yet finally beautiful, tender and heart-wrenching.’
Rose Shepherd, Saga
‘Poetical and lyrical … we are immersed in the characters and drawn helplessly into the story’s flow … Maloney spares neither his own characters, nor his readers — and this is as it should be.’
Tadhg Coakley, Irish Examiner