Another novel from a gifted young Trinity College alumni, Dolan’s newly-published Exciting Times is set in Hong Kong, but satirises a similar social circle to those of Rooney’s novels: highflying British and Irish ex-pats working for investment banks and corporate law firms. (One can imagine the characters of Exciting Times lurking in the background at Marianne’s student parties only a few years previously.) Ava, a hard-up TEFL teacher, begins socialising with this fast crowd when she starts sleeping with Julian, an emotionally withdrawn Old Etonian, but finds her ironic detachment challenged when she falls for the hardworking, earnest Edith. Skewering the social mores and snobbery of the young bourgeois, and – like Rooney – turning a gimlet eye upon the intricacies of interaction-by-social-media, Exciting Times is a book of one-liners and catty asides that will make you bark with laughter.
From our article Books like Normal People