Book Review: ‘Leonard and Hungry Paul’ by Rónán Hession

Read time: < 1 min

I found Leonard and Hungry Paul delightful, the characters are superbly individual, and the story is softly charming and powerfully insightful at the same time.

Leonard and Hungry Paul are friends who live and work in a small town in Ireland. Leonard writes contributions for children’s encyclopaedias and Hungry Paul is a postman. In their time off they go on walks together, play board games and talk about life. Perhaps the setting might seem to offer little scope for deeply engaging storytelling.

Two-protagonist story

This story is a masterpiece of character-driven two-protagonist fiction. The characters have different outlooks on life. Hungry Paul does not overthink things, whereas Leonard likes to consider ideas of reality and the meaning of life. The two friends accept each other for who they are, and the story offers wise observations about life. For example, Leonard says at one point, ‘The meaning of life is to find your own meaning.’ Who can argue with that?


Expertly crafted such that what happens appears almost to sneak up on you. This is a read to savour and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be reflecting on your time with Leonard and Hungry Paul for a long while afterwards. What a joy!

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