After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self. His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they're laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness. Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own - of what happened to their childhood friend Gabriel. And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down - and why life got so damn complicated and sad. Restless Souls is about young men grappling with the aftermath of tragedy. Darkly comic and deeply moving, it's an extraordinary portrait of male friendship, the power of memory and what it means to come home.
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 * David Ebershoff, author of THE DANISH GIRL and THE 19TH WIFE * 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 -- Martin Bell 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 -- Belinda McKeon, author of TENDER 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 -- J. Robert Lennon, author of BROKEN RIVER 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. -- Colum McCann, author of TRANSATLANTIC 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 -- Jonathan Lee, author of HIGH DIVE 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 -- Colin Barrett, author of YOUNG SKINS, Winner of the Guardian First Book Award
Dan Sheehan received his MFA from University College Dublin, and his fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous American, British and Irish newspapers and journals, including TriQuarterly, Guernica, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, Notes From The Underground, and Icarus, for the 60th anniversary of which he also served as editor-in-chief. His work has also been anthologized in New Tricks With Matches (2012) and in the Doire Press International Short Story Anthology (2013). He currently works at LitHub.com and lives with his wife Tea Obreht in New York City. Restless Souls is his first novel.