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Emotional Support Donkeys

Naoise Dolan: ‘Big Swiss’, 19 October 2023

Big Swiss 
by Jen Beagin.
Faber, 325 pp., £16.99, May, 978 0 571 37855 5
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... Greta,​ the narrator of Jen Beagin’s third novel, Big Swiss, is a 45-year-old American woman who lives in Hudson, New York. She has slightly deranged ideas about Europe. She’s convinced, for instance, that multilingualism is something Europeans achieve in order to make Americans feel bad. She also maintains that Europeans can be divided neatly into two categories: the ‘classy’ and the ‘trashy ...

Dentists? No Way

Naoise Dolan, 7 January 2021

As You Were 
by Elaine Feeney.
Harvill Secker, 392 pp., £14.99, August 2020, 978 1 78730 163 4
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... Do​ the Irish have a unique way of handling death? I don’t know, but I can tell you how my family does it. We circle through dark humour, pass around food and drink, pivot to banalities, current affairs and local gossip. (‘Hasn’t your one done well for herself?’ ‘Isn’t himself in an awful way?’) Elaine Feeney’s first novel combines all of these elements, right down to the Kimberley biscuits popular at Irish wakes: a chewy ginger treat with marshmallow in the centre and sprinkled with sugar, available in the ‘Irish section’ of large British supermarkets ...

Man as Mindfulness App

Malin Hay: Naoise Dolan, 7 September 2023

The Happy Couple 
by Naoise Dolan.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £16.99, May, 978 1 4746 1349 1
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... for the will they/won’t they question, for love triangles and dilemmas. In her second novel, Naoise Dolan updates the form for the 21st century, recognising that for the perpetual teenagers of the 2020s, a wedding is just an arbitrary date before which you have to decide whether or not you want to stay with your partner.That decision is the driving ...

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