ORCHID & THE WASP
By Caoilinn Hughes
Crown Hogarth, July 10, 2018
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.
“Orchid & the Wasp is a gorgeous novel told in an onrush of wit and ferocity. Art-forging, smack- talking, long-distance-running Gael Foess, three times smarter than everyone around her, proves to be an unforgettable heroine, and her journey will rattle your most basic assumptions about money, ambition, and the nature of love. Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.” – Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
"Caoilinn Hughes is the real thing - an urgent, funny, painstaking and heartfelt writer. Orchid & the Wasp is a startling debut full of the moral complexity, grief and strange bewilderments of humanity. As the world spins ever more quickly in response to the demands of grifters, parasites and liars, this book offers a troubling, beautiful and wise response.” – A.L. Kennedy, author of Day, Paradise, and The Blue Book
“Orchid & the Wasp is an ambitious, richly inventive account of the way we live now. Caoilinn Hughes writes with authority and insight, and her novel is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s financial-page headlines.” – John Banville, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea
“Gael, the young heroine of Orchid & the Wasp, is a magnificent and assured creation, breathtakingly smart, my favorite discovery this year. Hughes’s characters are like no one you’ve read before. This is an entirely original novel, dazzling and beautiful, disturbingly cold and insistent.”– David Vann, bestselling author of Bright Air Black and Aquarium
About the Author
Caoilinn Hughes is an Irish writer whose poetry collection Gathering Evidence won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award. She is a fellow of the James Merrill Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Tin House Workshop, and has received a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. Her work has appeared inTin House, Granta, POETRY, Best British Poetry, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She divides her time between the Netherlands and Ireland.