A gripping literary page-turner from a rising Irish talent in which former friends, estranged for twenty years, reckon with the terrifying events of the summer that changed their lives.
In the seaside town of Kinlough, on Ireland’s west coast, three old friends are thrown together for the first time in years. They—Helen, Joe, and Mush—were part of an original group of six inseparable teenagers in the summer of 2003,withmotherless, reckless Kala Lanann as their group’s white-hot center. Soon after that summer’s peak, Kala disappeared without a trace.
Now it’s fifteen years later: Helen has reluctantly returned to Ireland for her father’s wedding; Joe is a world-famous musician, newly back in town; and Mush has never left, too scared to venture beyond the counter of his mother’s café.
But human remains have been discovered in the woods. Two more girls have gone missing. And as past and present begin to collide, the estranged friends are forced to confront their own complicity in the events that led to Kala’s disappearance.
Against the backdrop of a town suffocating on its own secrets, in a story that builds from a smolder to a stunning climax, Kala brilliantly examines the sometimes brutal costs of belonging, as well as the battle in the human heart between vengeance and forgiveness, despair and redemption.
About the Author
COLIN WALSH’s short stories have won several awards, including the RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story Prize and the Hennessy Literary Award. In 2019 he was named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year. His writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Kala is his first novel. He is from Galway and lives in Belgium.
Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year byElectric Literature
"Kala hits its mark:it’s a beautiful and taut work of prose." —Electric Literature
"Kala is a thriller—and a lot more. It is exciting and cleverly structured, but its great strength is the characters: they are terrific." —Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author of Life Without Children
“Colin Walsh’s debut Kala is a heartbreaking story of love and lost youth that is at once tender and absolutely gutting. Psychologically rangy and ultimately riveting, Kala is a book you’ll not just read and love, but lend to those you love.” —Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek
"A debut novel of skill and fire, Kala crackles with passion as it depicts the urgent bonds of youth and the monsters that emerge when we peer into the past." —Rob Doyle, author of Threshold
"I was kept awake until the birds were singing. What a story. I was riveted. It captures so much of the essence of the thrill and excitement of teenage summers, the wonderful optimism of youth and first loves, and the ease with which corruption and evil can take hold and thrive. This is a dazzling novel." —Donal Ryan, author of The Queen of Dirt Island
"The very definition of page-turner, full of big personalities, rapid twists and unpredictable moments, cast both in vivid colour and deepest shadow. I tore through it." —Lisa McInerney, author of The Rules of Revelation