My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars to the character study, Orchid & the Wasp! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Gael Foss is at the center of Orchid & the Wasp, and the book follows her life from middle childhood through early adulthood. Gael and her younger brother, Guthrie, are living in Dublin with their parents who are very focused on their careers and not necessarily the family or the children.
Guthrie is needy. He has somatic complaints that turn into genuine illness, and Gael is protective of him and parents him more than their actual mother and father. I enjoyed this softer side of Gael, when it comes to her brother, because she has some sharp edges, too, and I think she is forced to harden because of her parents’ lack of availability, physically and emotionally. Her father left the family when the economy crashed in 2008. His leaving causes her mother to be even less available than she was before.
Gael is smart and worldly, and she takes advantage of others. As she becomes an adult, her manipulation of others is on a much larger scale.
Orchid & the Wasp is filled with heavier language and is engaging to analyze. When I dug deep into the lovely, but dark, writing, I found messages related to morality, ambition, mental health, and religion. Gael is formidable and intense, and the Orchid & the Wasp is her in depth character study.
p.s. I adore that cover!
Thank you to Crown Publishing and Hogarth Books for the ARC. Orchid & the Wasp will be published on July 10, 2018.
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“Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.” – Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
An unforgettable young woman navigates Dublin, London and New York, striving to build a life raft for her loved-ones amidst economic and familial collapse.
In this dazzlingly original debut novel, award-winning Irish writer Caoilinn Hughes introduces a heroine of mythic proportions in the form of one Gael Foess. A tough, thoughtful, and savvy opportunist, Gael is determined to live life on her own terms. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, Gael learns early how a person’s ambitions and ideals can be compromised— and she refuses to let her vulnerable, unwell younger brother, Guthrie, suffer such sacrifices.
When Gael’s financier father walks out on them during the economic crash of 2008, her family fractures. Her mother, a once-formidable orchestral conductor, becomes a shadow. And a fateful incident prevents Guthrie from finishing high school. Determined not to let her loved-ones fall victim to circumstance, Gael leaves Dublin for the coke-dusted social clubs of London and Manhattan’s gallery scene, always working an angle, but beginning to become a stranger to those who love her.
Written in electric, heart-stopping prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a novel about gigantic ambitions and hard-won truths, chewing through sexuality, class, and politics, and crackling with joyful, anarchic fury. It challenges bootstraps morality with questions of what we owe one another and what we earn. A first novel of astonishing talent, Orchid & the Wasp announces Caoilinn Hughes as one of the most exciting literary writers working today.