- 08 Aug 18
When Caoilinn Hughes set out to write Orchid And The Wasp, her mammoth story of a young woman, Gael Foess, trying to emerge from the rubble of the 2007-'08 financial crash, she was resolute that it wasn't going to be a coming-of-age story.
"I knew I wanted to be ambitious with this book, and I wanted to write something that wasn't at all formulaic," she tells Hot Press, speaking from Brooklyn, whence she's currently promoting the book in the States. "You often find with your first novel that you have a tendency to write the coming of age story, to write something that could've been reverse-engineered for a fiction-for-dummies manual. So with this, I wanted to not know what kind of a structure it would take. I wanted to have the character, then to allow the story to become what it wanted to become."
Orchid And The Wasp is the antithesis of the Irish coming-of-age story. Far removed from the tale of a young girl learning Catholic guilt before shrugging it off, Hughes upended it right from the first page, where she has Gael encouraging her fellow 11-year-old friends to break their own hymens so that they can be in control of their early sexuality.