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The Living

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Recently graduated and nursing a wounded heart, Cate Houlihan is quickly learning about the realities of adult life - shaky career paths, broken relationships and overbearing parents. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, she throws herself into choir practice and her new job as an editorial assistant in a small and eccentric Dublin publishing house. When romance blossom ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Atlantic Books (first published June 5th 2014)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  51 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What do I know about choirs and Irish politics? Not much. Would I enjoy a novel focusing on these? I had my doubts. Yet, I devoured this book. I love Lean's writing style and the way she layered past and present, mundane and complex. A feast. ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-by-friends
The basic story is simple, mundane even. Cate Houlihan is a couple of years out from finishing university. After temping a bit she gets a job with a small publisher, partly because her new boss knows her uncle, though she does not know anything about the nature of that relationship. She also sings in a choir. A new tenor joins the choir and they hit it off. There are the usual concerns about what this relationship might be, and how serious. She is surprised to find that she is actually enjoying ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Probably more 3.5 stars than 3 but not quite a 4 star read.

The story is fairly predictable, not badly done and the pacing is a little off for me it occasionally felt a little rushed and then afterwards felt a little too slow. I didn't feel I really got to know the characters in any concrete way but on the other hand I flew through the read, so it did keep my attention as I was reading through.

Cate Houlihan has recently graduated from Trinity and has drifted into a job in publishing. Not what she
Ed Mckeon
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read in one long snowy day and evening. The uneasy Irish peace is ten years old, and a young woman is beginning her career, but is drawn unwittingly into political intrigue. It's a love story with political overtones. Cullinan is a skilled and compelling author. ...more
A really powerful debut novel, examining how lies, evasions, and past events complicate life in the present, lying in wait to betray the unwary - or the naive.

Cate's life is finally working out. Working for Bell Books, a small Dublin publisher based in Rathmines, she's found a job she enjoys; living independently of her family has freed her from the undercurrent of tension at home; and a handsome, English tenor called Matthew has just joined the choir...

But things are more tangled than they see
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This rating reflects my appreciation of the author's use of an authentic-seeming Irish voice. I enjoyed the manner of speaking used by the characters very much.
This is a good story, charming even but not complicated. The characters are interesting but not revealed in depth. Perhaps there will be a follow-up to explore the relationship that developed here.
I would recommend this book particularly to those folks who love the Irish manner and way of speaking.
It is not for anyone seeking suspense and
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel and read it in one setting. It is a great read as well as being a good character study of the protagonist who falls in love with a fellow choir member. Her family are all caught well and the choir practices are really believable, as is the world of small publishing. It is set in modern times, but says something important about our troubled past in Ireland. I recommend it to all and have given it 4 stars. I would give it 5, except that is probably for the classics. I'm ...more
Davida Chazan
This mostly low-key thriller caught my eye because it takes place in today's peaceful Ireland where the country's past gets dredged up through an unlikely employee of a book publisher. You can read my revised review here https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2014/10/0... ...more
Tara Russell
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was in between a 3 and 4 star for me, but I really enjoyed reading it, so went with a 4 star rating :) I felt like the story couldn't quite decide what genre to be, and Cate, the main character, was a bit too given to introspective monologues, but it was a speedy read with a good sense of time and place. ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a very clear realistic no nonsence book that has a great plot and resolution. It's a debut novel from a young Irish author that promisses a lot of good books in the future. The book is a real page-turner and I recommend it to everybody. ...more
Elizabeth King
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this story about an Irish girl finding out slowly and painfully that her family's history has repercussions. ...more
Greg Dasztud
Jul 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read, the writer seems cool as well and bet she loves Teslas. ...more
Marie (UK)
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just a bit tame and predictable
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Rather predictable and didnt really develop the theme around the Irish republic. Overall, rather disappointing
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: litfic
This book is smart and beautiful, and I enjoyed it all the way through.

It's about a young woman in Dublin, and her life. And she's smart and funny.
This book follows her life, as she's becoming a grown-up, and discovers more about herself, and the past, and what it's like to be followed by suspicious people.

Robert McCullagh
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Mark Whitnall
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Feb 13, 2016
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2018
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Sarah Maguire
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
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Feb 19, 2016
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Danielle Maloney
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Jan 03, 2018
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