Restless Souls

Restless Souls

3.82 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
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'It never stops being a page-turner . . . a great debut' Colum McCann
'A terrific debut novel, bold and wise, each page lit with wit and with feeling' Jonathan Lee
'The funniest sad book I've read in a long time . . . A terrific debut from a dynamic new writer' J. Robert Lennon

Tom, Karl and Baz grew up together in down-on-its-luck Dublin. Friends since childhood, their lives diverged when Tom left home to be a war correspondent. Now, after three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, he returns a haunted shell of the lad who went away.

Karl and Baz have no idea what they're doing but they are determined to see him through the darkness, even if it means travelling halfway around the world. Hearing about an unlikely cure - an experimental clinic called Restless Souls - they embark on a road trip across California.

But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own - of what happened to their childhood friend Gabriel. And in doing so, they must ask how their boisterous teenage souls became weighed down, and why life got so damn complicated and sad.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 165 x 243 x 29mm | 534g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1474605850
  • 9781474605854
  • 8,693

Review quote

Sheehan's stunning and moving debut novel explores the weight of trauma and the complicated contours of male friendship . . . Sheehan's blend of breathless action, unsentimental depictions of love, and spot-on period touches will appeal to readers who like their hopeful narratives tinged with powerful uncertainties * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY starred review * Sheehan's debut novel is ambitious, rambunctious and extremely accomplished. Ambitious, in so far as it addresses daunting and complex issues; rambunctious, in its wild, road-trippy exuberance; and accomplished because it combines these elements with style, wit and compassion . . . The prose style, full of vibrant wise-cracking energy, can turn on a dime into a controlled lyricism befitting serious subjects such as PTSD, mental health and the nature of masculinity... -- Bert Wright * SUNDAY TIMES * [A] bold, brave, bravura debut * SUNDAY EXPRESS S MAGAZINE * [A] tender, banter-filled debut * DAILY MAIL * A strong and striking debut * THE AU REVIEW * Vivid, funny and emotionally intelligent, Sheehan's exploration of male friendship yokes extremes of human behaviour into a labile, and page-turning, tragicomedy. * SYDNEY MORNING HERALD * [Sheehan] evokes the boys' confusion, their tenderness, their fear. But also their hope that they can save their damaged friend and, in so doing, rescue themselves from the guilt that has haunted them since the first of their number took his life, a message that transcends generations. * GUARDIAN * [An] enjoyable debut novel . . . there's some fine Irish comedy along the way, and Sheehan adeptly pierces the nature of lasting friendship * Observer * A brilliant debut from a talented young Irishman, RESTLESS SOULS is alternately comic and tragic, as three boyhood friends come to grips with the loss of innocence and the suddenly forceful presence of death in their lives -- Philipp Meyer, author of THE SON One part war story, one part bro story, and one part road trip, RESTLESS SOULS is a wonderful debut by a talented, intelligent writer who knows how to make you think and make you feel and make you laugh. I devoured it * David Ebershoff, author of THE DANISH GIRL and THE 19TH WIFE * RESTLESS SOULS is set amidst the siege of Sarajevo and catches admirably the madness of those times. For more than three years the embattled Holiday Inn in the Bosnian capital was the headquarters of the foreign press. The rooms without a view were the ones most in demand. We called ourselves the Sarajevo Survivors' Club. If I had the talents of a novelist, Dan Sheehan's book is one that I would love to have written -- Martin Bell Bittersweet might be the word for the feeling Dan Sheehan conjures up with this tale of three childhood friends trying to put things right, except that the warmth and depth with which he portrays the challenges of friendship go way beyond sweetness, and there's nothing bitter about the anger and darkness into which he is unafraid to send his characters; instead, this is a story of what happens when the best of intentions meet the hardest of truths. Here are the shadow of war, the long reach of trauma, and the moments when it becomes clear that shared memories, and banter, and boyhood code, may no longer be enough. A touching, brave book -- Belinda McKeon, author of TENDER RESTLESS SOULS is the funniest sad book I've read in a long time, and a first novel of amazing complexity and maturity. Sheehan shows us the traumas of war and family like a seasoned veteran of both, and administers jokes like a battlefield nurse. A terrific debut from a dynamic new writer -- J. Robert Lennon, author of BROKEN RIVER A great rattlebag of a novel, Restless Souls turns genre inside out. At turns comedic, at turns literary, at turns thriller, at turns philosophical, it never stops being a page-turner. Mixing humour with its attendant darkness, Sheehan postulates that we all must eventually face our own history. Ultimately this is a road journey into memory. This is a great debut, reminiscent of Colin Barrett, Sara Baume, Rob Doyle, Claire Louise Bennett and a whole new generation of Irish writers. -- Colum McCann, author of TRANSATLANTIC RESTLESS SOULS is a terrific debut novel, bold and wise, each page lit with wit and with feeling. In his examination of friendship, Ireland, and a distant Sarajevo under siege, Dan Sheehan marks himself out as a writer to watch -- Jonathan Lee, author of HIGH DIVE RESTLESS SOULS is a hilariously shambolic road trip, a moving, freaked out, at times bruisingly mordant examination of the purgatorial agonies of PTSD, and above all a bawdy, alive, profane panegyric to the indissoluble bonds of friendship -- Colin Barrett, author of YOUNG SKINS, Winner of the Guardian First Book Award
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About Dan Sheehan

Dan Sheehan received his MFA from University College Dublin. His writing has appeared in the Irish Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, TriQuarterly, Words Without Borders, BOMB, and Electric Literature, among others. He currently works as an editor at Literary Hub and lives with his wife Tea Obreht in New York. Restless Souls is his first novel.

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Rating details

23 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 30% (7)
4 35% (8)
3 22% (5)
2 13% (3)
1 0% (0)
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