SKU/IBAN 9781843518648 Category:


This explosively original debut novel by Estelle Birdy, set in Dublin’s Liberties, channels the energies and agonies of young men let loose in the city, navigating between drug-dealers, the Garda Siochana and close-knit family networks.

The novel opens with a funeral where a group of young men mitch off school in Dublin’s city centre to say goodbye to their homeless friend, Jack, who died by suicide. Deano, a weed-smoking hurling star, lives with his aunt in an about-to-be-demolished flat. Hamza, a Pakistani Muslim atheist and precocious academic, sells his ADHD drugs to the kids in a private school. Oisin, empathetic to the point of policing how others speak, sees his dead brother at the end of his bed. Congolese nature lover, Benit just wants to relax and back up Deano on the hurling team. Karl, a maybe-gay fashionista, dreams of something better while immersing himself in his art. The group encounters Jack’s sister, Candy, and mother, Marian (a local madam), ganglord Wino Nestor, and Deano’s addict mother.

They deal with parties, their Leaving Certificate, race, poverty, violence and Garda harassment, and wonder what it means to be a man through a happily drug-fuelled haze. With scenes from street dealing to park brawls, to a brothel and a hospital ward, fateful interactions at Jack’s funeral set off a chain of events that threaten their friendship and safety.

Its diverse, captivating cast of characters, rendered in pin-sharp dialogue reminiscent of Roddy Doyle, leaves the reader with an immersive sense of multi-cultural Ireland. Fast-paced, funny and eye-popping, it descends from Trainspotting, White Teeth and Milkman in its portrayal of urban life in the twenty-first century. Ravelling has been optioned by Sleeper Films for a major TV series.