Lazy City: A Novel
A “truly extraordinary” (Bassey Ikpi) debut novel of modern Belfast that sings a tender hymn to messy love, quiet grief, and the hangovers in between.
Back home after abruptly leaving graduate school in London, Erin numbly teeters through the shock of losing her best friend to an accident she doesn’t want to talk about—especially with her mother. But it’s easy to slip into the rhythms of Belfast, the lazy city; she takes an au pair job and bookends her days with early morning runs along the Lagan and hazy afters at a bar her old friend tends. In quick succession, she meets an American man who is looking to get lost, and falls back in with the local boy who both comforts and confounds her. But it is her unlikely, secretive relationship with faith that offers a different kind of sanctuary. Wandering into empty churches, gazing with mascara-smudged eyes at the stained-glass windows, Erin finally, gingerly, confronts herself.
Praise for Lazy City: A Novel
[Lazy City] is a novel about trauma and its aftermath: again, a common theme today, but done sophisticatedly here, with a quality of thinking rare in a debut … Connolly gives Erin a dry, wry voice, and one that’s frequently very funny … Lazy City exhibits an understanding of the importance of our homeland as the container that shapes us… I felt better after reading this book. Connolly is a writer in whom I have faith.
— John Self - The Telegraph
A skillful debut novel paints a nuanced picture of Belfast and a grieving young woman’s search for something to believe in... Connolly’s incisive debut novel conveys the quiet desperation of a generation facing economic instability and career uncertainty, compounded by the climate crisis.... Belfast-born, Connolly offers a nuanced portrait of her home city: 'a place which shows all its history, all its personality, all the time… it’s not just the recent history, the flags and religion and borders. It’s the mountains everywhere, too.'
— Lucy Popescu - The Observer
[Written] with a piercing penetration and observational clarity . . . profound.
— Suzi Feay - The Guardian
Erin’s experiences and relationships are well realised, narrated in her wry, funny and often hungover voice. This is a timely coming-of-age novel with all the pain and pleasure that involves.
— Fanny Blake - Daily Mail
This soul-searching – and at times delightfully spiky – debut is a clear-eyed, non-judgemental guide through the sad stasis of grief and what’s both lost and gained in taking those vital steps closer to moving on.
— Marie Claire, "Best Books of 2023"
A mesmerising portrait of modern Belfast . . . genius.
— Barry Pierce - Big Issue
A poignant story set in Northern Ireland, Rachel Connolly’s Lazy City is a mesmerising debut.
— Rhianon Holley - Buzz Magazine
A startling and assured novel from an exciting new writer.
Connolly writes especially well about parties, sex and hangovers – it’s brilliantly visceral – but it’s when she tackles self-esteem and unfulfilled potential that her prose really sings.
— AnOther Magazine
A compelling exploration of grief, uncertainty and disappointment, and a convincing portrait of Belfast’s normalisation, such as it is. Indeed, where a Troubles novel might have foregrounded trauma, Connolly focuses instead on the impact of more ordinary, but still devastating, loss.
— Luke Warde - Irish Independent
[A] perceptive debut… Connolly draws the reader along by making each well-honed scene reverberate with emotion. This thoughtful character portrait is worth a look.
— Publishers Weekly
A pitch-perfect portrait of a 20-something whose life has been thrown off course, it is hard not to fall in love with the chaotic but charming Erin. As steeped in grief as it's soaked in booze, this vividly written debut is mordantly witty and profoundly moving.
— Bookseller, Editor's Choice
Crisp, clear-eyed and witty writing. . . . Rachel Connolly’s characters and their flawed, human attempts at redemption will stay with me for a long time.
— Monica Heisey, author of Really Good, Actually
In the wry and compassionate Lazy City, Rachel Connolly deftly captures both the intoxicating chaos and listlessness of young adulthood, when life seems both full of possibility and impossibly elusive.
— Colin Barrett, author of Homesickness
Frank, attentive, free of artifice or emotional contrivances, Rachel Connolly brings something new to any subject she shines her singular intelligence on.
— Nicole Flattery, author of Nothing Special