Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Debut Book of the Year 2020 | 2021 One Dublin One Book by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature | A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice
LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL is the story of two friends who ordinarily would remain uncelebrated. It finds a value and specialness in them that is not immediately apparent and prompts the idea that maybe we could learn from the people that we overlook in life. Leonard and Hungry Paul change the world differently to the rest of us: we try and change it by effort and force; they change it by discovering the small things they can do well and offering them to others.
I read this book in 2022 for 20booksofSummer22 having included it in my reading list. Sadly, I didn’t quite finish it within the challenges dates. It’s taken a little while to share my thoughts on it but I felt that there could be no better time than #ReadingIrelandMonth23 to finally get around to it.
Leonard is a writer of encyclopaedias. He has recently lost his mother. He got on well with his mother, they had a comfortable relationship. His best, possibly only, friend is Hungry Paul.
Hungry Paul works as a casual postman, keeping Mondays aside in case he is needed. He lives with his parents. His sister Grace is shortly to be married to Andrew.
Leonard and Hungry Paul have an easygoing friendship. Leonard is considered ‘one of the family’ and enjoys evenings with Hungry Paul playing board games and chatting. He is invited to Grace’s wedding as HP’s ‘plus one’ to help keep the numbers down.
We are quietly and unassumingly brought into Leonard and Hungry Paul’s world. Once there it is a warm and wonderful place. Each of these characters have a unique way of existing in the world and of navigating through it. As the story continues through the ups and downs of these two lovely characters lives over a period of weeks we come to understand their unique abilities, views and how they become better equipped to handle life.
The two main characters are quirky, funny, delightful and endearing. The other characters are equally engaging, they support Leonard and Hungry Paul with love and with tough love enabling them to deal with various challenges that arise. Yet both Leonard and Hungry Paul are able to show how they already have an understanding of a situation and even if they aren’t initially able to convey their feelings or thoughts on it what they are doing or trying to do. Each in their own humble, kind way makes life richer, better for those who are in their lives. What more could anyone wish to do?
This book is charming, funny, immensely satisfying and absolutely splendid. It fills the heart and soul with joy.
Published: Bluemoose Books (March 2019)
Buy: Bluemoose Books |Hive.co.uk |Ebb and Flow Bookshop |Bookshop.org (affiliate link) |AmazonSmileUK
Author: Rónán Hession is an Irish writer who lives in Dublin. His debut novel Leonard and Hungry Paul was published by Bluemoose Books in 2019. The Sunday Times chose it as one of the 50 great Irish novels of the century. It has been selected as the 2021 One Dublin One Book by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature. It was shortlisted for the An Post IrishBook Awards; Best Newcomer, Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. The British Book Awards, Debut Book of The Year. Books Are My Bag Awards; Fiction. The Dalkey Emerging Writer Award. The McKitterick Prize. His short story, The Translator’s Funeral was shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards Writing.ie Short Story of the Year.
As Mumblin’ Deaf Ro he has released three albums of story telling songs. His third album Dictionary Crimes was shortlisted for The Choice Music Album of the Year.
He is a civil servant (Asst. Secretary General, Dept. Of Employment Affairs and Social Protection).
He lives in Portmarnock, Dublin with his wife and two sons.
Article: Irish Times
Leonard and Hungry Paul | Paneka
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Glad you finally got to this and enjoyed it Janet x
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Thanks, Jill. Yes, I did both – got to it and enjoyed it. J x
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