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The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

By Naoise Dolan, (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Marriage, we are told by Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, is happily ever after. Of course, all three know that it isn’t – while indulging our hunger for a heart-warming ending. Naoise Dolan, an Irish novelist who should be more famous (read her savagely funny debut Exciting Times) nods to this with her second novel, concerning the nuptials between obsessive concert pianist Celine and pathologically priapic Luke. You don’t need a degree to suspect that this will not end well.

The pair are getting married because they can’t be bothered to split up. Luke is so carelessly absent from his life he fails to turn up to his own engagement party. Dolan has a pitiless ear for her characters’ narcissistic lethargy and bristles with indecently enjoyable subversive insight.

Photograph courtesy Naoise Dolan