Panenka by Ronan Hession (Blue Moose Books)
One of my surprise hit books from last year was Hession's first book Leonard and Hungry Paul and I preordered this one as soon as it appeared on Blue Moose's website.
It is simultaneously similar to and nothing like the first book but is still a very special book. Once more it is a character study, and although there are a couple of 'big' events that the story hangs on it really is the way Panenka and his friends and family are drawn that makes the book live.
Hession's skill for me is in seeing the ordinary and writing about it so wonderfully, without being tempted to create big events or extra drama. I felt that I was living with the characters and I could 'see' everything. The reveal of Panenka's current job towards the end was wonderful and a such a special moment that it did bring a lump to my throat - it is just perfect.
I don't love Panenka quite so much as Leonard but it definitely isn't a 'difficult second book' just another quiet book that feels very special,