Bittersweet might be the word for the feeling Dan Sheehan conjures up with this tale of three childhood friends trying to put things right, except that the warmth and depth with which he portrays the challenges of friendship go way beyond sweetness, and there's nothing bitter about the anger and darkness into which he is unafraid to send his characters; instead, this is a story of what happens when the best of intentions meet the hardest of truths. Here are the shadow of war, the long reach of trauma, and the moments when it becomes clear that shared memories, and banter, and boyhood code, may no longer be enough. A touching, brave book
One part war story, one part bro story, and one part road trip, RESTLESS SOULS is a wonderful debut by a talented, intelligent writer who knows how to make you think and make you feel and make you laugh. I devoured it
RESTLESS SOULS is set amidst the siege of Sarajevo and catches admirably the madness of those times. For more than three years the embattled Holiday Inn in the Bosnian capital was the headquarters of the foreign press. The rooms without a view were the ones most in demand. We called ourselves the Sarajevo Survivors' Club. If I had the talents of a novelist, Dan Sheehan's book is one that I would love to have written
A strong and striking debut
Sheehan's stunning and moving debut novel explores the weight of trauma and the complicated contours of male friendship . . . Sheehan's blend of breathless action, unsentimental depictions of love, and spot-on period touches will appeal to readers who like their hopeful narratives tinged with powerful uncertainties
An insightful dissection of male friendship
[An] enjoyable debut novel . . . there's some fine Irish comedy along the way, and Sheehan adeptly pierces the nature of lasting friendship
A brilliant debut from a talented young Irishman, RESTLESS SOULS is alternately comic and tragic, as three boyhood friends come to grips with the loss of innocence and the suddenly forceful presence of death in their lives
Tender and rambunctious and animated by a dauntless faith in human connection, RESTLESS SOULS is a book that that boldly ranges across the borders of nations, decades, and literary genres. Sheehan is a brave new voice in fiction, fusing comedy and heart to explore a friendship transformed by trauma, but vitally, achingly resilient nevertheless
RESTLESS SOULS is a terrific debut novel, bold and wise, each page lit with wit and with feeling. In his examination of friendship, Ireland, and a distant Sarajevo under siege, Dan Sheehan marks himself out as a writer to watch
[A] tender, banter-filled debut
A great and intriguing read . . . an astonishingly assured look at three friends battling to make sense of their lives . . . I love the structure - as it flits back and forwards, and a picture is gradually built of the friends as they develop from being teenagers when, with Gabriel as the protector, their futures seemed full of promise, through a sense of helplessness, and finally to, if not an assured future, at least a feeling of hope . . . the heartrending scenes in Sarajevo are meticulously researched
[Sheehan] evokes the boys' confusion, their tenderness, their fear. But also their hope that they can save their damaged friend and, in so doing, rescue themselves from the guilt that has haunted them since the first of their number took his life, a message that transcends generations.
Striking . . . Sheehan deals deftly with sensitive subjects, tempering his prose with a darkly comic streak that never feels misjudged. As a study in how young men process and express their grief, Restless Souls is a highly promising debut
Sheehan's debut novel is ambitious, rambunctious and extremely accomplished. Ambitious, in so far as it addresses daunting and complex issues; rambunctious, in its wild, road-trippy exuberance; and accomplished because it combines these elements with style, wit and compassion . . . The prose style, full of vibrant wise-cracking energy, can turn on a dime into a controlled lyricism befitting serious subjects such as PTSD, mental health and the nature of masculinity...
RESTLESS SOULS is a compelling debut, one which impels its readers to reckon with the pressing questions we, in all our varied societies, face. Sheehan brings distant parts of the world closer, writing about besieged Sarajevo with nauanced understanding, and reminding us that achieving inner peace is often more difficult than reaching the end of a conflict. Ultimately, this novel boldly alleges that, above all, we need each other.
A great rattlebag of a novel, Restless Souls turns genre inside out. At turns comedic, at turns literary, at turns thriller, at turns philosophical, it never stops being a page-turner. Mixing humour with its attendant darkness, Sheehan postulates that we all must eventually face our own history. Ultimately this is a road journey into memory. This is a great debut, reminiscent of Colin Barrett, Sara Baume, Rob Doyle, Claire Louise Bennett and a whole new generation of Irish writers.
RESTLESS SOULS is a hilariously shambolic road trip, a moving, freaked out, at times bruisingly mordant examination of the purgatorial agonies of PTSD, and above all a bawdy, alive, profane panegyric to the indissoluble bonds of friendship
[A] bold, brave, bravura debut
RESTLESS SOULS is the funniest sad book I've read in a long time, and a first novel of amazing complexity and maturity. Sheehan shows us the traumas of war and family like a seasoned veteran of both, and administers jokes like a battlefield nurse. A terrific debut from a dynamic new writer
Vivid, funny and emotionally intelligent, Sheehan's exploration of male friendship yokes extremes of human behaviour into a labile, and page-turning, tragicomedy.
I was engrossed in this novel from the start - engaged by the author's acute observations of human nature, and the way the friends' characters gradually emerge through their, apparently mindless, banter. [Sheehan] is destined for great things. He has combined horror, sadness and comedy to brilliant effect; his structure is masterly; his pacing pitch perfect, and his characters ring eerily true. I was blown away by this; it's a book I will never forget.