Hungry Paul wants a job. No, that’s a lie, he’s got one, a once-weekly substitute mail carrier gig. It’s actually his sister Grace who wants him to get a full-time job, so he’ll finally move out from his parents’ house. Leonard lived with his mom too, but she just passed away. Leonard has a job, ghost-writing copy for children’s reference books. He also has a dream, to write his own children’s book. And maybe to go on a date with Shelley, with whom he shares office space. Hungry Paul also has a dream – to win a local contest coming up with a better way to close correspondence. ‘Sincerely yours’ just doesn’t cut it. Leonard and Hungry Paul is a delightful book with a gentle sense of humor - and sometimes not-so-gentle - I laughed out loud more than once. Leonard and Hungry Paul is perfect for fans of - dare I say it? - A Man Called Ove. It was recommended to me by two customers, and now I’m recommending it to you!— Daniel Goldin
Here’s a story of two best friends who are attempting to move beyond the bubble they have kept themselves inside with the same routines ruling them. Leonard’s mother has passed away, and he is caught a bit off guard when he realizes a woman has taken an interest in him. Hungry Paul is comfortably still living with his parents, though his sister is getting married and attempting to get him to move on with his life. Through their friendship with each other (and Hungry Paul’s parents and sister) these two socially insecure men are able to move onward without changing who they are or what they believe. A heartwarming tale that will cause you to smile and laugh as you read. It did for me.— Jason Kennedy
Honestly, there’s hardly a sentence in Leonard and Hungry Paul that isn’t a delight to read. Musician and first-time novelist Rónán Hession drew me into his novel with his mix of laugh-out-loud funny scenarios and the subtle humor of his writing, but I kept reading for the characters. Leonard and Hungry Paul are best friends and game night enthusiasts who have always found happiness in simple, quiet moments and a sweetly endearing bond with their parents (they both live at home). When the usual meanderings of everyday life intrude to shake up their steady, reliable days, the result is a gentle tempest of complications and unforeseen emotions. How they endure and even blossom makes for a charming novel that can’t help but leave you feeling happy. And after the year we’ve all just had, it’s the book we all deserve.— Jenny Chou
There are few titles I would compare to Gail Tsukiyama’s The Samurai’s Garden and Jeanette Haien’s The All of It, two highlights of my bookselling career. But Leonard and Hungry Paul generates a sense of wisdom and leaves the reader with a calmness beyond the plot, in a world overrun by uncertainty and endless noise. Irish writer Rónán Hession renders in poignantly lovely prose the story of two men whose friendship and mutual kindness, ultimately defined by at what stage does a helping hand become one that holds a hand. Hungry Paul and Leonard will endear themselves to every reader and their story will continue to inspire with each re-read.— Jane Glaser
A little heartwarming, a little depressing, this book throws its dart right in the middle of a cheerful / thoughtful / melancholy Venn diagram. It’s a dramedy about two gentle, never-left-home, mid-thirties pals – you might call them nerds if you were feeling unkind – who’ll have to grow up, stand up, and wise up (if only just a little) when their lives are shaken up by, well, the things that shake up otherwise quiet, common lives – a workplace romance, a parent’s death, a civic honor, and a wedding. One minor miracle is the subtle but sure touch Hession brings to depicting grief. Honestly, the best thing about L&HP is the sense of calm it leaves behind – you might not want to trade places with these guys, but you will leave their lives hoping you, too, can be a bit more kind.— Chris Lee
Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two friends who ordinarily would remain uncelebrated. It finds a value and specialness in them that is not immediately apparent and prompts the idea that maybe we could learn from the people that we overlook in life.
Leonard and Hungry Paul change the world differently to the rest of us: we try to change it by effort and force; they change it by discovering the small things they can do well and offering them to others.