The Wild Laughter (Hardcover)

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NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED TITLE FOR 2020 BY THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE IRISH TIMES & RTÉ

'Extraordinary... A book of wicked intelligence and tender heart.' - Max Porter, author of Lanny

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 risks their livelihood, if not their lives, their 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.

About the Author


Caoilinn Hughes is the author of Orchid & the Wasp (Oneworld 2018), which won the Collyer Bristow Prize, was shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards, the Butler Literary Award and longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. Her poetry collection, Gathering Evidence (Carcanet 2014), won the Shine/Strong Award and was shortlisted for four other prizes. Her work has appeared in Granta, POETRY, Tin House, Best British Poetry, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She has a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and she was recently Visiting Writer at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. For her short fiction, she won The Moth International Short Story Prize 2018 and an O.Henry Prize in 2019.

Praise For…


'I loved this book. 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 The Commitments

'The prose has extraordinary velocity. A book of wicked intelligence and tender heart.'
— Max Porter, author of Lanny

'The Wild Laughter is painfully smart, comically brilliant and boldly subversive. Hughes makes her subject matter entirely her own while providing a lacerating look at the world we live in.'
— Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy

'What a profound, much needed, urgent novel. The Wild Laughter is dark and beautiful, and touches the heart of what deep suffering our political systems have brought upon the world, but seen in that clearest way – intimately, microscopically, through family. The myriad ways they can love, hurt and betray one another... So well done.'
— Fatima Bhutto, author of The Runaways

'The Wild Laughter is a raucously intelligent, tough and tender black comedy written in jaggedly beautiful prose and confirms Caoilinn Hughes as a restlessly inventive, exciting new voice in Irish literature.'
— Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

'Hughes’s sharply observed [novel] takes a stark look at an Irish family’s love and betrayal amid the recession of 2008... Hughes’s taut, voice-driven work balances colorful dialogue with wry commentary, which extends from the characters to the shifting values of their country... This solid family drama stands out by doubling as a poignant state-of-the-nation novel.'
— Publishers Weekly

'The Wild Laughter is a stunning piece of writing. Hughes' sentences are so well-crafted I read many of them several times and discovered fresh layers with each read. Her dialogue is razor sharp and shot through with Beckett-esque black humour. The characters are perfectly drawn. A strong and early contender for Irish novel of the year.'
— Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters

'Set in the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger, [The Wild Laughter] is a dark comedy on euthanasia.'
— Irish Times, Most Anticipated Titles 2020

'[The Wild Laughter] is about what happens to a country when the rug gets pulled out from under everyone's feet. Which historically has happened to Ireland on a regular basis, and which the rest of the world is now experiencing. Sharp dialogue, wicked humour, awkward sexy times – did I mention she was Irish? Is she the new Eimear McBride? Could be.'
— Readings, Australia

'Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.'
— Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of All the Light We Cannot See

'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

'A memorable, insightful portrait of a complex family in an equally complex economic and emotional situation. Caoilinn Hughes get the balance just right: the pathos is real but never heavy-handed; the humour is black but never mean-spirited. The Wild Laughter succeeds on all levels.'
— Patrick deWitt, author of French Exit

'From the first arresting paragraph of The Wild Laughter, Caoilinn Hughes enthrals us on a journey through contemporary Ireland, one that even the most far-flung reader will find delightful, in all of its hilarity, peculiarity and states of flux.'
— Elnathan John, author of Born on a Tuesday

'A slim dynamite book with characters that will stay with you, and a must-read if you love the English language and all it is capable of.'
— Bookseller, The American Book Center, The Hague

'This novel will take its rightful place among the best of international writing today.'
— Mary Burnham, Bookseller for Dubray

'I think [Irish literature is] better than it has been for ages… Caoilinn Hughes…has a wonderful, mad book called The Wild Laughter that I would recommend wholeheartedly.'
— Interview with Roddy Doyle
Product Details
ISBN: 9781786077806
ISBN-10: 1786077809
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publication Date: July 30th, 2020
Pages: 208