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Review of Lazy City by Rachel Connolly

Rachel Connolly is another debut writer springing out of the absolutely heaving Irish literary scene (probably my favourite literary scene to have ever existed). Lazy City follows Erin, who has moved back to Belfast having abruptly quit graduate school. Erin finds her rhythm in the Lazy City, she has a job which pays enough and gives her somewhere to sleep, she regularly drinks with her friends in bars and pubs, and she finds herself falling in with two men who are relatively easy-going.

I really enjoyed Connolly's style of writing. Written in the first person, the sentences are often short, almost blunt, and give us an insight into Erin's psyche. All the dialogue is in italics which made the speech feel less direct (when compared to speech marks), I wonder if that was an intentional decision when considering Erin's aloofness and her inability to form meaningful relationships? We don't learn Erin's name until we're right in the heart of the book, something I found particularly interesting. In not having a chance to attach a name to the central character the plot felt even more in the first-person, as if I was seeing everything entirely through Erin's eyes.

I found the decision to use the church as a place of refuge well-executed (if a little predictable?). When the noise became too loud Erin was able to come to a place and space that meant something to her, even if she didn't class herself as religious.

All in all I enjoyed this story, mostly because I liked the prose. My two comments would be that in the middle I did feel the plot meandered a little, and I'm also aware that I didn't feel connected to Erin or the other characters in the story. Who's to say; given Erin's emotional aloofness, maybe that was the point? 

Review by Helen.

Lazy City was published on 24/08/23 by Canongate.

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