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Orchids are liars.
They use pheromones to lure wasps in to become unwitting pollinators. In nature, such exploitative systems are rare. In society, they are everywhere.
Gael Foess is a heroine of mythic proportions. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, she learns from an early age how ideals and ambitions can be compromised. When her father walks out during the 2008 crash, her family falls apart. Determined to build a life-raft for her loved ones, Gael sets off for London and New York, proving how little it takes to game the system - but is it really exploitation if the loser isn't aware of what he's losing?
Written in electric, heart-stopping prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a dazzlingly original novel about gigantic ambitions and social upheaval, chewing through sexuality, class and politics with joyful, anarchic fury, announcing Caoilinn Hughes as a rising star of literary fiction.
‘Highly ambitious… Kick-ass, whip-smart and with “a tongue like a catapult”, Gael belongs to a venerable tradition of feisty heroines…readers are going to love her.’ Sunday Times
‘Fiercely bright and moves like a bullet train.’ Sebastian Barry, Costa Book of the Year-winning author of Days Without End
‘A remarkable, propulsive debut novel... No precis can adequately convey the novel’s startling, impressionistic prose, nor its corrosive humour. Jewels of observation glitter amid the earthy gags... Exuberant... it zings with energy, ambition and daring.’ Times Literary Supplement
'Original, clever, and frequently very funny. Hughes's luminescence is staggering, breezing a determined young Gael from Dublin to London to New York and back again with scarcely a breath drawn. Brilliant.' Irish Independent Best Books of 2018