“Something brilliant was starting.”
Title: Rockadoon Shore
Author: Rory Gleeson
Publisher: John Murray
Cath is worried about her friends. DanDan is struggling with the death of his ex, Lucy is drinking way too much and Steph has become closed off. A weekend away is just what they need. They travel out to Rockadoon Lodge, to the wilds in the west of Ireland.
But the weekend doesn’t go to plan. JJ is more concerned with getting high than spending time with them, while Merc is humiliated and seeks revenge. And when their elderly neighbour Malachy arrives on their doorstep in the dead of night with a gun in his hands, nothing will be the same again for any of them . . .
Honest, moving and human, Rockadoon Shore is a novel about friendship and youth, about missed opportunities and lost love, and about the realities of growing up and growing old in modern-day Ireland. Highly energetic and tensely humorous, it heralds a new and exciting voice in contemporary Irish fiction.
I actually really really enjoyed this book! I tend to shy away from books with a lot of drinking or drugs in them because it makes me uncomfortable, and a lot of the time it’s just entirely an idealistic view of college students wanting to have fun.
Rockadoon Shore is a book about 6 friends who go away for a weekend in the Irish countryside. Each of these characters has their own POV, along with a 7th external narrative from a character by the name of Malachy. The book is told in 3rd person but the inclusion of chapters which are alternatingly focused on different characters was a choice that I (unexpectedly) enjoyed. You got to see the varying perspectives of the events throughout and how no friendship can really come without its bumps and flaws.
In a nutshell, this story is about getting drunk, getting high, having sex and broken relationships.
At the beginning of this book, I was convinced that I knew all of the characters pretty well after a few chapters from each of their perspectives. Gleeson was able to encompass a unique physical and mental description for each and every character. They were all different and all viewed their live’s in different ways – yet, they were a group of friends that seemed unbreakable.
Not one of the characters really turned out how I expected them to. Their characters arcs were full and meaningful – the exact people I hated at the beginning were the ones I ended up loving the most. This book was written in a way that realistically reflected the unpredictability of life and really how any which way it can go.
The writing was fun and although I did have to grow used to the different way speech was represented it wasn’t something that took away from the story. I think the use of a “-” instead of speech marks is probably more common, I just haven’t actually read a book with it before!
It really didn’t feel like this took place over a weekend for me – so much was filled into the pages of this novel I didn’t even notice when I’d gotten to page 200! A brilliantly fast-paced novel about friendship and having fun (even if it doesn’t always go the right way).