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  • John Murray
  • John Murray
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The Couples

Lauren Mackenzie

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Romance

Three couples, one night. And the life that follows . . .


'Humorous, deeply emotional and unputdownable' Sunday Independent, Best Novels of 2023

'A blockbuster in waiting' Donal Ryan, author of The Queen of Dirt Island

'Normal People for married people' Irish Times

Eva looked out the attic window of their charming guest house and watched the sun rise. She thought she might be sick. Splayed on the lawn below was Frank, apparently out cold. Her husband snored in the bed behind her. She loved Shay, of course she did, but right now the only person she wanted to think about was Conor. She didn't want to think about Bea or Lizzie or what Lizzie might have got up to with Shay.

Frank's 48th birthday had given the three couples an excuse for a much needed night away from children, nagging bills and ailing parents. The drink flowed, life in Dublin with all its stress felt a long way away. When Frank proposed they swap partners, it felt deliciously, irresistibly reckless. One night. No obligations. No expectations. All the women had to do was text a man of their choice.

The only rule? No falling in love.

It was a night that some of them couldn't remember. And others couldn't forget.

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Praise for The Couples

  • Fresh and stylish . . . a diverting, grown-up story about how the fear of regret and yearning for former selves can make people do rash things, for which there are always consequences - Irish Times

  • What a devilishly delicious read about six fascinating and flawed people and their imperfect relationships, their vulnerabilities and betrayals. Empathetic, entertaining and enthralling

  • I adored The Couples! A nuanced and entertaining novel of keenly observed relationships that gripped me from start to finish. Stunning! Lauren Mackenzie is a writer of tremendous talent

  • A brilliant novel, perceptive and precise on the intricacies of human relationships, the burdens we place on ourselves and each other, the mad dances we do around love, obligation, impulse and desire

  • A witty, sharply-observed tale of modern relationships. Gorgeously written, Mackenzie's novel is both funny and devastating in turn. A brilliant exploration of love, sex, friendship and ambition in contemporary Ireland

  • Normal People for married people - Irish Times

  • Lauren MacKenzie's The Couples is an utterly compulsive read, I couldn't put it down, with characters so authentic they jumped off the page. And how wonderfully refreshing to see older, messy, flawed, complex, sexy, desirable characters in fiction. I adored it

  • MacKenzie is a beautiful writer, with an astute eye for the relationships, desires and difficulties that make up modern mid-life, told with humour, compassion and flair. The Couples is an engrossing read, with characters that feel completely realised, their messy complicated existence alive on the page

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Lauren Mackenzie

Lauren Mackenzie grew up in Sydney, Australia but now lives in Dublin with her family. After a long career as a screenwriter and editor in film and television, she returned to fiction in 2o17, completing an MA in Creative Writing in UCD. She was shortlisted for Cuirt New Writing Prize, Hennessy New Irish Writing, and Fish Short Story Prize. She has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Banshee, the Irish Times, and The Lonely Crowd among others. Recently she was awarded Literature Bursaries by the Arts Council of Ireland and in 2021, her novel, The Couples, was a joint winner of the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2021.

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