Juno Loves Legs
by Karl Geary
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Pub Date 18 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 07 Apr 2023
Juno Loves Legs is the story of two teens labeled as delinquents. Juno and "Legs" grow up on the same housing estate in Dublin, where spirited, intelligent Juno is ostracized for her poverty and Legs is persecuted for his sexuality; they find safety only in each other.
Set against the backdrop of Dublin in the 1980s, a place of political, social and religious change, the friends yearn for an unbound life and together they begin to fight to take up the space of who they truly are. As their defiance reverberates through their lives, the children are further alienated from their surrounding society through acts of bravery and cowardice, both their own and others’. Finding themselves as outsiders, they are feared, coveted and watched, but rarely truly seen.
Told through the eyes of Juno, we see the pair begin to navigate the political and oftentimes confusing adult world with honesty and intuition. A country emerging from a dark Catholicism into the wider world of possibilities. Who is invited into modernity and gentrification and who is left behind?
Caught between the rich depth of her intellect and the harsh reality of her life, we follow Juno as she begins to understand how divergent a life lived and a life thought can be.
Juno Loves Legs shows the frustration of feeling trapped in a life that is not yours and the ability of friendship to lift us out of our experiences and into a truer version of ourselves. It is a novel that reminds us that kindness, bravery, and love appear in places where they are not always expected and in forms not usually recognised, but with a potency that cannot be ignored.
—Michelle Hart, Electric Literature
“Juno Loves Legs is a gorgeous, devastating ode to the sustaining power of friendship, as well as exquisitely atmospheric portrait of a city. A great Dublin novel. A great novel, period.”
—Dan Sheehan, Literary Hub
“The characters are three-dimensional and sympathetic as they struggle to overcome the cruel circumstances of their lives . . . Atmospheric.”
“Whip-smart Juno is scorned by her peers for her empty pockets, while “Leg” is scorned for his sexuality; they’ve grown up on the same housing estate in 1980s Dublin, bonding over their outsider status. Their story unfolds from the perspective of Juno, who’s beginning to see the possibilities of a life lived differently as Ireland shrugs off the stranglehold of rigid Catholicism. Geary follows up his debut, Montpelier Parade, an Irish Times Book of the Year.”
“An original and exquisitely tender story of two misfits who find love in an often callous and indifferent world, Juno Loves Legs will haunt you long after you have read it. In gorgeous, effortless prose, Karl Geary bears witness to those who, like his protagonists, are invisible and voiceless. By boldly confronting the darkness, this novel finds the light.”
—Gabriel Byrne, author of Walking with Ghosts
“A tender, wrenching portrait of two young outsiders searching for sanctuary in the bruised hearts of one another. Geary’s exquisitely rendered Dublin is at times a bleak place, but that darkness is defiantly illuminated by the humor and humanity of his unforgettable protagonist. You will ache for Juno.”
—Dan Sheehan, author of Restless Souls
“Karl Geary writes devastatingly beautiful novels. Juno and Legs will break your heart in the very best way and leave you laughing in spite of yourself. It’s a perfectly drawn portrait of lives lived boldly on the edge of disaster. A backstreet epic. I literally couldn’t put it down.”
—Jan Carson, author of The Raptures