‘A glorious novel, tough and hilarious and full of heart’ Donal Ryan

By: Estelle Birdy

Publication Date: 9 May 2024


Ravelling, the debut novel from Estelle Birdy

An Irish Times Most Anticipated Book of 2024

SET IN DUBLIN’S LIBERTIES, Estelle Birdy’s explosively original debut Ravelling channels the energies and agonies of young men let loose in the city, their city, navigating the tumultuous trajectory of youth and young manhood, where they balance their hopes with the harsh realities of their present.

Hurtling between friendships, feuds, drug-deals, family and brushes with the law, this is modern Dublin as never before portrayed. Ravelling follows Deano, a weed-smoking hurling star, living with his aunt in an about-to-be-demolished flat; Hamza, a Pakistani Muslim atheist and precocious academic, who sells his ADHD drugs to the kids in a private school; Oisín, empathetic and iron-willed, who has begun to see his dead brother at the end of his bed; Congolese nature lover, Benit, who just wants to relax and hurl with the lads; Karl, a maybe-gay fashionista, dreaming of something better while immersing himself in his art.

Bound by friendship, place and the memories of those who’ve died too soon, these young men grapple with race, class, sex, parties, poverty, violence and Garda harassment, all while wondering what it means to be a man in twenty-first century Ireland.

Ravelling’s 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.

Ravelling masterfully evokes the fragility and beauty of human relationships. It’s funny, bold and bursting with love. There’s no moral here, just an ode to community, a burning sense of youth and a plea for a society pushed to the margins.’ KARL GEARY

‘A glorious novel, tough and hilarious and full of heart. What a writer! Every line sings from the page.’ DONAL RYAN

‘Written in fluent, truthful prose, with humour and empathy abounding.’ SEBASTIAN BARRY

‘A brilliantly profane, hilarious ride through the Liberties … Ravelling lays a sparkling new Dublin over the old. A revelation.’ LAUREN MACKENZIE

‘An immersive, imaginative debut’ Henrietta McKervey, Irish Times

‘Estelle Birdy’s debut ­novel hits the ground ­running with a ­masterstroke ­opening – a funeral. …Birdy is fearless in her exploration of masculinity. Through her characters, she challenges stereotypes and delves deep into the struggles and triumphs of young men grappling to understand themselves in a world that mostly seems stacked against them. … No wonder Sleeper Films have optioned this bold debut for a TV series.’ Lourraine Courtney, Sunday Independent

‘It’s a pacey, bleakly funny, warm and compassionate novel and is filled with hilarious, inventive, sweary dialogue reminiscent of Roddy Doyle.’ Niall McArdle, Books Ireland

ESTELLE BIRDY is a writer, poet, book critic and yoga teacher who lives with her family in Dublin. Her debut novel Ravelling was a winner of the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair in 2020. Her work is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Read an interview with Estelle Birdy in The Irish Times here

Read an interview with Estelle Birdy in The Argus here

Weight 0.800 kg
Dimensions 216 × 136 mm
Publication Date

9 May 2024


Paperback w/ Flaps



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