A whimsical, touching story about loneliness, friendship, and hope…
Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in — and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was “left by fairies.” Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she’s crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn’t a friend in the world.
So, she decides it’s time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope.
Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from.
And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian’s life begins to change.
Debut author Caitriona Lally offers readers an exhilaratingly fresh take on the Irish love for lyricism, humor, and inventive wordplay in a book that is, in itself, deeply charming, and deeply moving.
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“This urban fairy tale delivers something that is both subtle and profound in its examination of the human soul. Magically delicious.”—Kirkus
“A whimsical jaunt through Dublin and a modern take on many old Irish folktakes…Humorous, charming, and original.”—Booklist
“Inventive, funny and, ultimately, moving.” — Claire Kilroy, The Guardian
“Full of action and humour as its beguiling narrator takes her surreal jaunts around the capital in search of a portal to another world…. The black comedy gives the book a jaunty quality that complements the dazzling trip around Dublin.” — Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times
“Delightfully quirky… Vivian’s voice alone is enough to keep us reading, charmed by her unique brand of manic, word-hoarding wit.” — The Irish Independent
“The book’s style calls to mind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Engaging and humorous.” — The Dublin Inquirer
“This is a strange, lyrical, fantastical, and slightly disturbing book that left me feeling a bit dizzy each time I would read a few chapters… a fresh take on wordplay and humor… Vivian is a sympathetic, and utterly unforgettable, character.” — Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library