“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 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?
“Radiant… A charming, luminous debut.” —Kirkus STARRED Review
“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
“Lovely, beautifully-realized characters. An especially delightful read for Anglophiles.” —Booklist
“Hession’s narrative is cheerful and funny. But it is also a meditation on loneliness, fear, and what we fill our lives up with to compensate for them.” —Chicago Review of Books
Praise for the UK edition of Leonard and Hungry Paul …
British Book Awards 2020 Debut Book of the Year Finalist
Irish Book Awards 2019 Newcomer of the Year Finalist
“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