4 stars book cover for The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Hughes

The Wild Laughter

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Do you love dark humour? Terrifyingly accurate depictions of Irish family dynamics? You do? Great, this is the perfect book for you! 
Brothers Hart and Cormac are struggling to process the fact that their farmer father Manus has become so ill that he no longer wants to live. The brothers are like chalk and cheese and all the years of underlying competitiveness begin to spill over as they face the inevitable. 
Surrounded by a brilliant cast of characters- lover Dolly, mother Nóra, cousin Shane, and local priest Fr O’Shaughnessy- the brothers attempt to navigate their family tragedy with disastrous results. 
The story is grim but powerful. The careful glimpses we get into grief-stricken Hart’s psyche are heartbreaking. Hughes has done a brilliant job of developing such a nuanced character. 
This is a tricky one to star rate because while I didn’t love the story (a little too bleak for me), I absolutely LOVED the writing and the humour. Her character descriptions are brilliant (“He still had the cut turf hair and the wolverine eye that would have him on ADHD pills if he lived in the Sates.”) 
I was completely caught off guard (in a good way) by Hughes’ original writing style. It’s so descriptive, clever, and funny. I can’t wait to read much more from her. It has been ages since I read an author whose style was so unique.