Imprint: New Island Books
256 Pages, 6 x 8.5 in
- April 2023
- In Stock
In breathless prose, Declan Toohey weaves a contemporary yarn of academic intrigue and youthful irreverence, sexual fluidity and neurodiversity. Experimental, trippy, hilarious, compassionate, Perpetual Comedown is a riotous reckoning in the construction of the self.
"...experimental, trippy, funny, dark adventure into the mental breakdown of a literature student as he attempts to prove the existence of a third narrative dimension." ~The Irish Times
"Declan Toohey is a little genius." ~Anne Enright
"Declan Toohey writes with lapel-grabbing flair and wit, and Perpetual Comedown fizzes with narrative invention, literary intrigue and esoteric mayhem. As contemporary Irish novels go, it’s out there in its own wild, fearless place." ~Rob Doyle
"I finished Perpetual Comedown last night. Such a surprising book; it reveals its secrets slowly, so what seems first to be a work in the great tradition of Irish surrealism actually becomes something real, and genuinely affecting. Through the hijinks, the satire and the fun poked at academia and literature comes heart-breaking humanity: love, loss, fear and fragility. The result is a novel that’s wild, beautiful, and poignant." ~Lisa McInerney
'A novel so unique, so zany it is unlike anything I have read before ... It is bold. It is bonkers. It is brilliantly clever. It is also blackly funny — the prose skips along with irreverent glee, laced with puns and put-downs and perfect observations ... Where the novel really shines, however, is in its — somewhat surprising — emotional core [...] at its heart Perpetual Comedown is a story about a wayward son’s unwavering love for his mother; about a young man’s desire to make his family proud, even after he has chosen to pursue a path they don’t quite understand, no matter the toll it takes on him or his mental health.' ~Ruth Gilligan, Irish Independent
'Toohey’s explosive prose transports the reader into Darren’s complex, hallucinatory world ... reveals a profound, moving insight into mental illness.' ~Aisling Arundel, Totally Dublin
‘The sharp satire of this stunning debut gives an authentic voice to university life in Ireland … Bizarre, bleak, and as blackly comic as I’ve come across, Maynooth alumnus Declan Toohey’s first novel tracks the mental breakdown of an English student as he strives for just one unique academic thought. A whole new interpretation of dark academia … it’s the novel’s emotional core that gives it resonance - the human element, the desire to be loved and to make people proud, is what stays with you.’ ~Éabha Puirséil, Silverhand Journal
'Toohey plays with style and form throughout, never letting an impossibly convoluted situation get in the way of great character development ... a difficult novel to describe, Perpetual Comedown must be read to be believed ... It’s impossible to know if Perpetual Comedown documents Darren’s unravelling or the creation of his true identity. Either way, this experimental, thought-provoking and creative novel is probably the strangest thing you’ll read this year – in the best possible way.' ~Andrea Cleary, Sunday Business Post
'Perpetual Comedown is a college daze of highs, lows, and humanities in-jokes ... Toohey writes with energy and wit and undoubtedly the novel has benefited from his mentor. Toohey has worked with Anne Enright, so there are no flies on him.' ~Josephine Fenton, Irish Examiner
'From its opening, with narrator Darren Walton entering a woodland hovel, Declan Toohey’s debut throws us into an unstable reality with only the witty and wholly unreliable voice of its protagonist to guide us. To untether the reader from the known world and to leave us, from beginning to end, unclear as to what is and isn’t real is courageous. But, in Toohey’s case, it’s courage born of rightful confidence in the strength of his writing ...
It’s not a bleak treatise on mental illness or drug taking. It’s a funny and clever, touching and wild exploration of one particular mind. It poses interesting questions about possible realities, parallel lives, times and stories.
In the middle, Darren finds time for an examination of narrative. Is a story without ending even possible? We are left with an impression of how fine the lines are between genius and insanity, between a mind that is truly free and a mind that is on fire. Be prepared, this book requires energy. But once you’re ready, it’s an invigorating and challenging ride.' ~Estelle Birdy, Sunday Independent