Exile

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Author: Aimee Walsh

Category: Fiction & related items

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: John Murray

ISBN: 9781399815857

RRP: $49.99

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Leaving home was hard. Returning is impossible.

Fiadh’s life is turned completely upside down on a night out in Belfast. Pretty soon everyone has heard about what happened; it is impossible to keep the rumours from spreading, the gossip from spiralling out of control. And just as she was beginning to finally figure everything out: she was feeling positive about her move to Liverpool, she was starting to get on top of her uni work and had made some new friends. Now her life is in freefall and Fiadh is helpless to do anything about it.

She starts missing assignment deadlines, stops turning up to class and doesn’t respond to any of her friends’ messages. Her nights revolve around random hook ups, fuelled by drink and drugs. Without the tightknit group of friends she left behind at home or the support of the new friends she has made in Liverpool, Fiadh’s life quickly descends into chaos, a chaos that nearly costs her everything.

A taut, accomplished and affecting addition to the recent body of Belfast novels about the disaffected young, and the complicated tug that a place can have on you. Walsh is part of a generation of writers imagining the city and reckoning with its complex past anew, and her Fiadh is a fully-realised character with whom it’s a pleasure to spend time, sharp and funny even through the confusion of her downward spirals of self-destruction, always in an instantly recognisable, distinctively salty Belfast way – Lucy Caldwell

Aimee Walsh’s debut novel takes a fresh and unwavering look at the landscape of “post-conflict” Northern Ireland. Exile skilfully interrogates what it means to have a complex relationship with home, paints a stunningly realistic portrait of the awkward years between childhood and adult existence and is, above all, a cracking read. Walsh excels at capturing the caustic lyricality of Belfast speak – Jan Carson

An explosive debut that explores the aftermath of the ultimate betrayal. Sticky with spilt sambuca and threaded with loneliness, it’s about being young, lost and unable to process a stomach-churning trauma, but it’s also about the joys, sorrows and complexities of female friendship, and what it is to both leave home and to return changed – Alice Slater

Exile is an assured, unsentimental portrayal of youth. Aimee Walsh’s authentic depictions of self-loathing, confusion and dissociation often create a deep unease while reading, yet the cracking wit and sense of adventure pulsing through Fiadh’s journey deftly balance out these darker elements. A compelling debut – EM Reapy

Exile rings true, encapsulating so vividly and viscerally a place in time but also a time in life. An eruption of a book by a phenomenal writer – Darran Anderson

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