If you missed this debut novel back in 2021 don't feel bad, so did I, but I am grateful to find it now as it's a great example of one of my favorite (and rare) genres-the feel good literary novel. Leonard and Hungry Paul are bachelor best friends who still live at home and have quiet lives full of board games and small work dramas. Hession's an Irish musician by trade and it shows in his musical and lovely prose. Seemingly simple but profound like my other favorites, Jim the Boy and A Fortnight in September, it's a calm treat in a busy world.— From Sam's Picks
A disarming novel that asks a simple question: Can gentle people change the world?
In this charming and truly unique debut, popular Irish musician Ronan Hession tells the story of two single, thirty-something men who still live with their parents and who are . . . nice. They take care of their parents and play board games together. They like to read. They take satisfaction from their work. They are resolutely kind. And they realize that none of this is considered . . . normal.
Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two friends struggling to protect their understanding of what’s meaningful in life. It is about the uncelebrated people of this world — the gentle, the meek, the humble. And as they struggle to persevere, the book asks a surprisingly enthralling question: Is it really them against the world, or are they on to something?
About the Author
Ronan Hession is an Irish writer and musician based in Dublin. As Mumblin' Deaf Ro, he has released three albums of songs, and his most recent album, Dictionary Crimes, was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for album of the year. Leonard and Hungry Paul is his first novel, and was shortlisted for an Irish Book of the Year award.
Praise for Leonard and Hungry Paul …
British Book Awards 2020 Debut Book of the Year Finalist
Irish Book Awards 2019 Newcomer of the Year Finalist
"The book is a delightful summer read because the characters are so incredibly likable... It's testament to the author's skill that this book, so lacking in the traditional trappings of drama, is somehow a total page turner." --Chloe Veltman, NPR Books
“Radiant… A charming, luminous debut.” —Kirkus STARRED Review
“This quietly brilliant book is as funny as it is wise, as tender as it is ground-breaking. Rónán Hession mines for gold in the modest lives and ordinary friendships that might appear unpromising to another writer, and my goodness, he finds it. It is also a happy book — and we need those.” — Diane Setterfield, author of The Thirteenth Tale
“A charming, warm-hearted celebration of all that is treasurable about everyday life.” — The Guardian
“Charming without being twee, this funny, warm book will bring you sunshine.” — The Irish Times
'God, what a voice Ronan has. It is spectacular and already feels like a cult classic. I was absolutely hooked.' — Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart
“For a book that defies convention I would heartily recommend Leonard and Hungry Paul. It’s as simple as it is unique … a celebration of kindness and having enough and being content — and living a life devoid of high drama and conflict. It’s very funny, and well-written, poetic in places. But above all it’s kind, a celebration of often overlooked people.” — Kit de Waal, author of My Name Is Leon
"This beautiful, heartfelt book is fed on wit and purpose . . . it challenges us to take happiness seriously. The result is that its readers may be nourished by it and in turn nourish others. Hession practices the gentleness he preaches, and gives readers a restorative glimpse of what a world based on embracing our best human quirks could look like. This is a novel to hearten us for whatever lies ahead." — The Believer