‘He speaks in your voice, Dublin, and there’s something hopeful in the new edges of his words and phrases that has come through revolutions, generations, and across continents to be witnessed here, on these streets, now.’
Kevin Curran opens his third novel with this wonderfully evocative and optimistic address to Dublin in 2023. In the ensuing pages we are brought on a journey through the excess and ecstasy of youth, as we enter the interconnected lives of four very different characters in the suburbs of the capital.
Our setting is Balbriggan and our diverse cast is made up of four teenagers navigating life and shaping their futures as graduation and adulthood beckon. Angel is dreaming of YouTube fame off the back of the Drill music that he and his friends create on the city streets. Princess is focused on further education and ambitious career moves despite her insufficient grades. Cian is struggling to escape the lingering shadow of his famous father. And Tanya is striving for internet fame and followers, while simultaneously contending with unwanted notoriety thanks to a viral video making the rounds in school.
Through each character’s story, Curran brings a lived-in, immersive reality, and individual sense of personality, which feels groundbreaking in its authentic presentation of the new Irish generation, while also writing with wisdom and empathy on timeless coming-of-age themes. With a distinct and original perspective on modern Irish society, Youth reaffirms its author as a significant and powerful voice.
Words: Andrew Lambert