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Publisher's Summary

Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, spends her days teaching English to rich children.

Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava, to have sex and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than 'I like you a great deal'.

Enter Edith, a lawyer. Refreshingly enthusiastic and unapologetically earnest, Edith takes Ava to the theatre when Julian leaves Hong Kong for work. Quickly, she becomes something Ava looks forward to.

And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong....

©2019 Naoise Dolan (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Exciting Times

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  • AD
  • 10-20-20

Exhausted by Ava’s tedious self-absorption

I initially found Ava’s self-critique of her slightly dirtbag personality refreshing and entertaining, but after hours of the stuff, compounded by her apparent inability to combine her self-reflection with any actionable change to address those aspects of her character, life, or choices with which she was dissatisfied, this book became a tiresome egotistical mope from a deeply unlikable character.

Her relationship with Edith entirely lacked substance: it felt sappy, two-dimensional and appeared to be founded entirely on Ava’s insecurities, obsessions and borderline pathological inability to tell the truth. As soon as her secret about Julian was out, so too was her flame for Edith.

Her relationship with Julian at least had chemistry, some edge and complexity of dialogue.

Can the author not write romantic relationships between women or was than intentional?

Besides the poorly crafted relationships, I found the portrayal of Ava’s queerness utterly bizarre. The only time that she, a woman who does a lot of reflecting, reflects on her queerness is at the time that she is actually with a woman. As soon as she’s back to sleeping with a man, this aspect of her vanishes entirely from the narrative. Are you only gay when you’re actively with a woman, when you’re back with a man you’re straight again, and the concept of bisexuality doesn’t exist…? For a book that has a fair amount to say on deconstructing stereotypes and heteronormativity, it sure did fall straight (pun intended) into that one.

As for the ending, given the character development up to that point, it just felt really implausible.

I greatly enjoyed the nuggets on language with which the book is peppered, and the narration is just lovely.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-25-20

Don't.

50+ lesbian fiction books, this is the first I just can't finish. It's just vacuous of everything. Awful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sally
  • 04-28-20

Loved listening, so beautifully written

Felt like listening in to someone's mind. loved the thoughts on English and Irish language throughout.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-20

What was the point?

Only finished it to see if there was any point or plot. Donut waste your time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Deirdre Motherway
  • 06-04-20

Well worth a read.

Really enjoyed this. Unsentimental, honest account of a young girl trying to figure her shit out, away from the pressures of home and family.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fiona
  • 05-09-20

Dull and overrated.

Had to read for book club. The only reason I didn't ditch after a few chapters. Unremarkable

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rachel Winters
  • 04-30-20

Smart, witty, contemporary

Ava is a young woman who minces no words, brooks no fools. While sadly under-appreciative of her own talents, she impresses others enough with her acerbic charms to become engaged in a complex sexual and emotional triangle with a British banker and a wealthy young lawyer. Set in the bustle of Hong Kong where ex-pats on high salaries dispute Brexit and lowly TEFL teachers (of which Ava is one) struggle to pay the rent, the book sizzles along. Irish people - not to mention TEFL teachers - will get a kick out of Ava’s take on the English language. Also enjoyable are those scathing ripostes that Ava so deftly fires at her lovers, which will make the reader wistful they never came up with similar gems in their romantic adventures. All is not quite as hard-assed as Ava would wish it, however, as she finds out when she really falls in love. A stylish and refreshing debut. Recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-08-21

A book that plays beautifully with language

A book about politics and class but the main character is the language we call English.

It is a book I plan to re read as the story has many layers. Next however I will read it without audible narration. This is in no way meant to criticise the narration as it is very good and helped get an understanding of the overarching narrative in a way I don't think I would have fully appreciated fully had I read text alone on a first read.

However to fully appreciate the genius of this novel I feel you may also need to read it slowly, carefully and marvel at how it is put together linguistically.

Speaking personally I like how the narrator in the novel (not to be confused with audible narration necessarily) is also a proud socialist!

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  • Claudia Ashton
  • 03-15-21

Brilliant

From the blurb I was worried this book would be a bit fluffy and simple (trying to avoid the phrase chick-lit but you know what I’m getting at).

It isn’t at all! It is so clever, analytical, reflective, the characterisation so real, I absolutely loved it. It is a very thoughtful book with many lines to go over again and contemplate. The performance is also beautiful. Highly highly recommend, loved it.

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  • P Irving
  • 02-02-21

Dull

Cannot understand any of the hype this book received it has got to be one of the most dull self-indulgent audiobooks I have listened too in a long while. I rarely leave negative reviews but would advise not wasting a credit on this.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-21

Quite unique

Challenging not to lose heart and give up early on. Such frustrating characters. It all came together beautifully in the final chapters.

1 person found this helpful