Ebook via Glassboxx
Youth Cover

Youth – ebook via Glassboxx

By: Kevin Curran

Publication Date: 8 June 2023



Chosen as an Irish Times Summer Read 2023


Youth by Kevin Curran dives into the lives of four teenagers in Ireland’s most diverse town, Balbriggan. Angel is about to finish school and discover if Drill music and his YouTube fame can deliver on their promises. Princess is battling to escape her claustrophobic surroundings and go to university. Dean is ready to come out from under his famous father’s shadow. Tanya, struggling with the spotlight of internet infamy, is still posting her dream life for all of her faithful followers.

Isolated and disorientated by the white noise and insurmountable expectations of adolescence, our protagonists are desperate to find anything that helps them belong. Oblivious to each other’s presence, potential and struggles, they pass on the street as strangers. But when they do intersect, the connections they make will change the course of their lives.

Twenty-first century life – hyper-sexualized, social media saturated, anxiety-plagued – is here. Living inside its characters’ heads, and negotiating their interior landscapes, this book is a love song to the possibilities of youth.

Curran’s evocative writing yields the authenticity this novel demands. An instinctive affection and admiration for the characters portrayed in Youth takes the reader on a journey through streets less travelled.

Kevin Curran is from Balbriggan and has been a secondary-school teacher in his hometown for over a decade. His fiction largely concentrates on working class life in the Dublin suburbs. His first novel, Beatsploitation, was published in 2013 and brought him national attention due to his depiction of Ireland’s new multicultural landscape. His second novel, Citizens, was published to critical acclaim in 2016, and he has published numerous short stories in major anthologies and literary journals such as The Stinging Fly. He has also written non-fiction for The Guardian and The Observer.

‘I’m really interested in the role language plays in Youth … this is what makes it such a stand-out book. … It is a novel that is lyrical in its movement – almost musical – and yet also cinematic. Place, pace and rhythm are essential components – characters? – in this novel. It feels as if you walked the streets of Balbriggan, if not literally, then in your head, like Joyce did for Ulysses but at the same time, Youth taps into the universality of human experience.’ SHAUNA GILLIGAN, WRITERS CHAT

Youth is a tender, unsentimental portrait of young Ireland.’ ANNA CAREY, IRISH TIMES

Kevin Curran’s fine new novel is ambitious. Expansively titled (Tolstoy, Conrad and Coetzee chose it too), its excellence is in particularities, the fine detail of the lives of four teenagers in a specific place at a specific time.’ JULIAN GIRDHAM

Youth is current. It’s Here and Now! You feel the language of Youth in your very pulse.’ MELATU UCHE OKORIE

‘Cocky, funny, complex, vulnerable – the kids in Youth deserve to be treated with seriousness, compassion and focus. And that is exactly what Curran does with such energy and confidence in this vibrant, important novel.’ WENDY ERSKINE

‘A vivid and memorable portrait of a new emerging city from a gifted and committed writer.’ KEVIN BARRY

‘Curran animates the precise, minute-to-minute oscillation between triumph and catastrophe that is adolescence. All the embarrassments, missteps, bluffs, and vulnerabilities of youth are here. And all the yearning too. He captures the voices of a diverse young Ireland, harried by racism, exploitation, and lack of opportunity, battling with itself for itself. His great skill is to carry us along so completely and so confidently, and his affection for his characters is infectious. I’m hoping against hope that these kids will be alright. It could go either way.’ KEITH RIDGWAY

‘Vibrant and immersive – it captures brilliantly the fragile confidence that lies at the heart of youth culture.’ RÓNÁN HESSION

Youth is a tour de force. A vital novel that embraces the tender vulnerability and brutality of adolescence. Curran vividly captures the lives of Irish young people trying to figure out who they are and what they want with evocative and edgy prose. Stunning. A must read.’ OLIVIA FITZSIMONS

‘[Youth] is chilling, but invigorating … so loudly and vulnerably alive. … [The characters] speak English but it is their English. It’s the Dublin brand but they are adding to it … On the page, put there by Curran, it’s a treat and an education. … I laughed as Angel had to translate his English into his mother’s English:

–Serious bags. I’m really good at it, swear down.
–Excuse me?
–Sorry mam. I’m doing very well.

“The Brig” or “the Briggz”, “story” or “wagwan”, “our” or “fam”? The answer, being worked out on Balbriggan’s Mainstreet, is: both. Irish-English has always been wild. Kevin’s Curran’s Youth, at its liveliest, seems to be telling us that we’re only starting.’ RODDY DOYLE, IRISH TIMES

‘An atmospheric, immersive novel, Youth is more than painstakingly faithful to its location – it’s faithful to the real-life experiences represented by its characters … The obvious comparison is with Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown novels, yet the style of Youth reminded me more of reading Irvine Welsh for the first time 30 years ago, and giving myself up to its language and rhythms, ready to go wherever it was taking me. Youth’s multi-narrative style lends itself perfectly to the audiobook. … It is an exceptional novel, joyous and hopeful. For all the divisive, anxiety-plagued reality of social media saturation, Youth champions solidarity and compassion.’ HENRIETTA MCKERVEY, IRISH TIMES

Listen to Kevin Curran and Gabriel Adewusi (audiobook voice actor for Angel) being interviewed on RTÉ Culture File here

Listen to Kevin Curran on Newstalk’s Moncrieff Show here

Read an exclusive extract from Youth by Kevin Curran on RTÉ Culture here

‘You cannot teach where I teach, and be in my classroom and not feel uplifted, or have hope for the future.’ Read an interview with Kevin Curran in the Irish Times here

‘An unmissable Irish read.’ DEREK O’CONNOR, RTÉ CULTURE

‘A beautiful read … the language is so fresh.’ JOHN TOAL, BBC RADIO ULSTER

Chosen as a cultural highlight by RTÉ Culture

As recommended by Eason Balbriggan

Chosen as a June 2023 highlight by Books Upstairs

Chosen as a Newstalk Summer Read 2023

Doing the work: an essay by Kevin Curran in The Stinging Fly – read here

‘Curran delivers a stunning and evocative centred on the ebb and flow of youth culture.’ Waterstones Drogheda

‘The detail is sharp and vibrant.’ SKERRIES NEWS

‘[A] wonderfully evocative and optimistic address to Dublin …  groundbreaking in its authentic presentation of the new Irish generation … [written] with wisdom and empathy … With a distinct and original perspective on modern Irish society, Youth reaffirms its author as a significant and powerful voice.’ ANDREW LAMBERT, TOTALLY DUBLIN

‘Here is Youth, full of verve and courage and totally credible. Not a false note from start to finish. I just loved it and simply couldn’t put it down.’ CHRISTINE DWYER HICKEY

‘Hugely sympathetic characters that have you wishing them on at every page turn. I read it in three sittings. Gripping.’ AMAZON CUSTOMER

‘Rich in atmosphere … Echoes of Trainspotting resound.’ SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

‘A compelling exploration of teen life, race and multiculturalism [with] four fascinating lead characters … it feels about time that a book like Youth was written. It addresses some of the most important issues facing Irish society.’ PAUL NOLAN, HOT PRESS

‘It takes only the first three page-flips of Youth to notice Kevin Curran’s talent for transporting readers into different cultural worlds. … He sheds light on the fact that it is possible for people following different journeys to find a beautiful intersection. With all its diversity, Youth is uniquely Irish.’ FILOMENA KAGUAKO, IRISH INDEPENDENT

‘An evocative account of the lives of four teenagers in the north county Dublin town; oblivious to each other, but with more in common than they realised. Sharp, keenly observed and seriously impressive.’ LAUREN MURPHY, RTÉ

Chosen as a Best Book of 2023 by RTÉ 

Chosen as a Best Book of 2023 by The Irish Times

‘Didn’t want the book to end. Beautiful.’ SIMON O’CONNOR, DIRECTOR AT MOLI

Listen to an interview with Kevin Curran on RTÉ Arena here

‘Here’s a rasping book, full of the kick and verve of the inner city. Loved the dialogue, the vernacular of working-class Dublin and all the minor and major concerns of youth. It’s easy to forget what it is to be young when looked at from the other end of life but Kevin made me remember the fine line between triumph and disaster with his great writing and love for his characters. Great book.’ KIT DE WAAL

‘Kevin Curran’s twenty-first century … is a thrilling dispatch from life lived amid the ruins of idealism.’ ROB DOYLE

‘Kevin Curran … [writes] with confidence and brio.’ COLIN BARRETT

‘“The isolation of whole communities can be glimpsed through stories of marginalised individuals.” Kevin Curran exemplifies this idea.’ SALLY ROONEY

‘[Curran has] some big things to say about Ireland, past and present.’ THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST

‘Brings an edge of hard-won resolve to his tale while keeping mindful of broader social issues.’ SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

‘A writer of real perception and sensitivity.’ IRISH INDEPENDENT

‘Razor-sharp contemporary cultural commentary.’ HOT PRESS

Also available on audiobook

Paperback with flaps

Publication Date

8 June 2023

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