Sounds Like Fun by Bryan Moriarty

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction
Sounds Like Fun

By Jenny Darmody

Sounds Like Fun is Bryan Moriarty’s debut novel and focuses on 27-year-old Irish man Eoin, who has been living in London for the last six years or so. The book opens with having a nasty spill when he cycles over a pothole while rushing to meet his boyfriend Rich.

Immediately, we are thrown into the vibe of how London feels to a so-called blow-in and how much of an outsider Eoin feels, both in public and also when he goes to the pub to join Rich and Rich’s friends.

Then, we’re introduced to the book’s premise: that Rich wants to try having an open relationship. Sounds like fun, right?

What Bryan Moriarty does extremely well is to make you resonate with our protagonist, no matter how much or little you have in common with him. I am not a gay man who has ever lived in London but from the very first page I feel like I am Eoin. I found myself nodding along to his descriptions of London as if I knew it as well as he did. Even through little arguments Eoin might have with Rich or his friend Jax, I found myself resonating incredibly strongly with him. Even when he was in the wrong, I found my brain thinking ‘you would have done/said the exact same thing’.

I found myself rooting for and believing in Eoin far more than some protagonists I’ve read over the years that were much better designed to resonate with me and I think that’s an immense credit to Bryan Moriarty’s writing. He has created a real living, breathing person that I want to protect at all costs, so much so that I found myself annoyed when I got to the end because I knew the rest of Eoin’s life would have to be left up to the imagination.

In real life, Bryan Moriarty lives in London, where he moved from Dublin to train as an actor. As well as performing, he has also been a teacher and a barista and he has really put the adage of ‘write what you know’ to good use. While Eoin is working as a barista – and desperately trying to keep things ticking over while his boss seems to be AWOL – Rich is a teacher, and we are later introduced to James, a struggling actor who comes to work at Eoin’s café.

While Eoin is taken aback by the suggestion of an open relationship, it is immediately clear how much value he puts on his relationship with Rich and how much he doesn’t want to lose him, so of course he agrees, even though he’s not at all crazy about the idea.

The book then follows Eoin as he starts to explore the concept that ‘open relationship’ goes both ways and, given that he has been with Rich since he was about twenty-one, maybe there’s more out there that he needs to explore.

Bryan Moriarty’s debut is an excellent exploration of modern-day relationships along with that mid-to-late-twenties crisis so many people have as they try to figure out what they want their future to be. What do I want my career to look like? Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? Should I start saving for a house? Where do I even want to settle down? These are all questions that start to need very solid answers for many people as they approach thirty and when you throw in a curve ball like ‘let’s try an open relationship’, it is bound to make that quarter-life crisis harder.

Sounds Like FunSounds Like Fun is a warm, easy read with strong, believable characters and a lot of heart. It’s a great one for book clubs and I highly recommend it.

(c) Jenny Darmody

Order your copy online here.

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