A brilliantly funny novel about friends, lovers, Ireland in chaos, and a young woman desperately trying to manage all three
"If you’ve ever been unsure what to do with your degree in English; if you’ve ever wondered when the rug-buying part of your life will start...if you’ve ever loved the wrong person, or the right person at the wrong time…In short, if you’ve ever been young, you will love The Rachel Incident like I did.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times best-selling author of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Rachel is a student working at a bookstore when she meets James, and it’s love at first sight. Effervescent and insistently heterosexual, James soon invites Rachel to be his roommate and the two begin a friendship that changes the course of both their lives forever. Together, they run riot through the streets of Cork city, trying to maintain a bohemian existence while the threat of the financial crash looms before them.
When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her devise a reading at their local bookstore, with the goal that she might seduce him afterwards. But Fred has other desires. So begins a series of secrets and compromises that intertwine the fates of James, Rachel, Fred, and Fred’s glamorous, well-connected, bourgeois wife. Aching with unrequited love, shot through with delicious, sparkling humor, The Rachel Incident is a triumph.
About the Author
CAROLINE O'DONOGHUE is the New York Times best-selling author of All Our Hidden Gifts, her YA debut fantasy, which has been published in more than twenty territories around the world. She has written for The Times and The Guardian, and is the host of an award-winning podcast, Sentimental Garbage. She was born in Ireland and lives in London. The Rachel Incident is her first adult novel to be published in the U.S.
"If you’ve ever had a literary internship that didn’t really pay you; if you’ve ever contemplated writing a screenplay with a friend; if you’ve ever been unsure what to do with your degree in English; if you’ve ever wondered when the rug-buying part of your life will start; if you’ve ever avoided going home or run out of things to say to your parents; if you’ve ever built your life and your personality around a friend; if you’ve ever loved the wrong person, or the right person at the wrong time… In short, if you’ve ever been young, you will love The Rachel Incident like I did.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times best-selling author of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
“Caroline O’Donoghue, where have you been all my life? The Rachel Incident is a transportive joy, a superhighway to young friendship. Big-hearted, witty and expertly crafted — I want to live inside this book.” —Sloane Crosley, New York Times bestselling author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Cult Classic
"Caroline O'Donoghue shines a laser beam on young adulthood, particularly the crazy intensity of those messy, beautiful friendships forged in the fires of romantic crisis. The Rachel Incident made me nostalgic for my early twenties. But even more than that, it made me wish I could go back and hug the person I was back then and tell her she'll be okay." —Lauren Fox, New York Times best-selling author of Send For Me
"By turns hilarious and heartfelt, breezy and bittersweet, The Rachel Incident is a full-throated, big-hearted romp through early adulthood.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Orphan Train
“A college student gets caught in the middle of a friend’s romance in this delightful Irish novel…. This deliciously complex set of entanglements lays the groundwork for the novel… and bring to mind the gossipy 19th-century novels Dr. Byrne might teach in class. But its true joys lie in the tremendously witty characters and their relationships: The real love story of this novel is not between James and Dr. Byrne, or Rachel and her own paramour, but between Rachel and James, whose codependent glee in each other’s company will remind many readers of their own college friendships, especially those between women and queer men…. Sensational.” —Kirkus, starred review