Evenings and Weekends: A Novel (Hardcover)

Evenings and Weekends: A Novel By Oisín McKenna Cover Image
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“This is such a love story to cities & people & heartbreaks, death & loss. It's not at all corny, it's smart. But I just finished it & it made me cry.” — Eileen Myles 

"Signals the arrival of a novelist sure to resonate with young people who endeavor to make intimate connections." The Washington Post

"Like the book version of a Richard Curtis film, but with more grit, more bathroom sex and a literal beached whale." —GQ

For fans of Sally Rooney and Torrey Peters, a stunning debut that follows a vibrant multi-generational cast of characters through a London heatwave as their simmering tensions and secrets come to a head over a feverish, life-changing weekend.

Summer in London stops for no one. Not the half-naked drunks and stoners, the bachelorette parties glugging from bejewelled bottles, the drag queens puffing on hurried cigarettes. It’s June 2019, and everyone has converged on the city’s parks, beer gardens, and street corners to revel in the collective joys of being alive.

Everyone but Maggie. She’s 30, pregnant, and broke. Faced with moving back to the town she fought to escape, she’s wondering if having a baby with boyfriend Ed will be the last spontaneous act of her life. Ed, meanwhile, is trying to run from his past with Maggie’s best friend Phil and harboring secret dreams of his own.

Phil hates his office job and is living for the weekend, while falling for his housemate, Keith. But there’s a problem: Keith has a boyfriend and there might not be room for three people in the relationship. Then there’s Rosaleen, Phil’s mother, who’s tired of feeling like a side character in her own life. She’s just been diagnosed with cancer and is travelling to London to tell Phil, if she can ever get hold of him.

As Saturday night approaches, all their lives are set to change forever. Temperatures are soaring and the weekend is about to begin…

Strikingly heartfelt, sexually charged, and disarmingly comic, Oisín McKenna’s debut is a mesmerizing dive into the soul of a city and a searing look at what it takes to build a life there.

About the Author

Oisín McKenna was born in Dublin and lives in London. He was awarded the Next Generation Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to write Evenings and Weekends and it was developed with further funding from Arts Council England. Evenings and Weekends has been awarded a 2022 London Writers Award, and in 2017, Oisín was named in the Irish Times as one of the best-spoken word artists in the country. He has written and performed four theatre shows, including ADMIN, an award-winning production at Dublin Fringe 2019, and has written for outlets including the Irish Times on issues such as gentrification and the alienation of Dublin’s youth.

Praise For…

"This sparkling first novel focuses on the intertwined lives of three Londoners and their friends and family, largely over the course of a single weekend in June 2019...In another pair of hands, the compressed timeline and the size of the cast could have made for a disjointed reading experience, but McKenna toggles among the different characters and storylines with aplomb. What emerges is an empathetic portrait of millennials trying to build lives for themselves amid social, political, and ecological change...A smart debut that feels rooted in the experiences of a generation and establishes McKenna as a gifted writer." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This vivid realist novel adroitly maneuvers a sprawling interlocking cast around the hipster haunts of north and east London, including Kingsland Road, London Fields and the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds…His electric, broadbrush vignettes of urban life recall Kae Tempest’s novel The Bricks That Built the Houses and Vivian Gornick’s memoirs. For even as it utters a howl of rage at broken, late-capitalist Britain, Evenings and Weekends is a love letter to the city – the chance it offers to forge your own identity, and the interconnectedness of urban life. A tender portrait of contemporary queer London." — The Guardian

"Like the book version of a Richard Curtis film, but with more grit, more bathroom sex and a literal beached whale." — GQ

“This is such a love story to cities & people & heartbreaks, death & loss. It's not at all corny, it's smart. But I just finished it & it made me cry.” — Eileen Myles 

"“Evenings & Weekends follows a polygon of poor, hot young people as they question their fidelity to the flickering city.…It signals the arrival of a novelist sure to resonate with young people who endeavor to make intimate connections.” — Washington Post

"A masterclass in tension and character writing." — Electric Literature

“The characters in Evenings and Weekends are almost shockingly alive. I was fascinated by the mix of zeitgeisty humor, wisdom, and existential angst. I have never read a book that captures what London feels like to young people quite so compellingly.” — Tomasz Jedrowski, author of Swimming in the Dark

"McKenna’s ornate tapestry is one to savor." — Publishers Weekly

"A masterpiece: this searing tale of class, love and sex will resonate for generations to come." Owen Jones

"The aching, swelling humanity of this book swallowed me whole."
Saba Sams, author of Send Nudes

"This book was a thrill. Zadie Smith-esque in its kaleidoscope of London and incisively political but only in the most generous, specific, and lived-in way; That Oisín can write a book so steeped in identity politics and yet so casually chaotic and real is a testament to his imaginative generosity and sense of scale. I could go on and on and on. Compassionate, intelligent, hilarious. This book will win prizes. I enjoyed it so much."
Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy, winner of the Rooney Fiction Prize

"‘I tore through Evenings and Weekends, a story which is full of life and rings with passion and hope. A brilliant study of the sins of modern Britain and the energy of contemporary London." — Soula Emmanuel, author of Wild Geese

Evenings and Weekends dives into the heart of a city and its inhabitants with beauty and intellect. The result is a novel brimming with life, confronting the difficult and ugly with a fresh and charming levity. I can’t wait to read what McKenna writes next.” — Nicola Dinan, author of Bellies

"Summer is almost upon us. By the end of it… Evenings and Weekends, will surely be a much-thumbed book atop many bedside stacks and best-of lists. With it, yet another brilliant Irish voice announces their presence in contemporary literature…Intoxicating… Evenings and Weekends is a wonderful, almost engulfing reading experience." — Irish Times

"The novel of the summer…this year’s great London novel… a precise and wise treatise on being late twenties in the capital."
Evening Standard (London)

"McKenna’s book captures what it feels like to be worn out by the constant calculations, and adjustments and uncertainties that so often underpin a London life." — Independent

"Evenings and Weekends is a novel of sincere belief in the possibilities of the future, a manifesto calling us to bring our voices into the chorus of modern life. With sparkling prose and tender attention to everyday detail, Oisín McKenna brings us deep into the tangled lives of parents, children, lovers and friends who, despite the struggle to survive in the twenty-first century metropolis, persist in their demand for pleasure, joy, and love." — Allen Bratton, author of Henry Henry 

"The book of the summer."

"Moving from character to character, Oisín McKenna creates a dynamic multigenerational world saturated with difficult choices, queerness, love, and angst. McKenna’s empathetic portrait doesn’t moralize; it instead charms and disarms the reader with realistic writing you can feel." — Bookshop.org

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063319974
ISBN-10: 0063319977
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English