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The Lives of Women

Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. The house backing on to theirs is sold and as she watches the old furniture being removed, she is taken back to a summer in the 1970s when she was almost sixteen and this small out-of-town estate was an enclave for women and children while the men are mysterious shadows who leave every day for the outside world. The women are isolated but keep their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability. When an American divorcee and her daughter move into the estate this veneer begins to crack. The women learn how to socialise, how to drink martinis, how to care less about their wifely and maternal duties. While the women are distracted, Elaine and her friends find their own entry into the adult world. The result is a tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine's life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile. Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability.
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The stunning new novel from Christine Dwyer Hickey, bestselling author of Last Train from Liguria.

About the Author

Christine Dwyer Hickey is an award winning novelist and short story writer. Her novel The Cold Eye of Heaven won the Irish Novel of the Year of the Year 2012, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2011 and nominated for the IMPAC 2013 award. Last Train from Liguria was shortlisted for the Prix L'Europeen de Litterature and Tatty was chosen as one of the 50 Irish Books of the Decade as well as being nominated for The Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards novel of the year 2004. Her first novel The Dancer was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year. She has won several short story awards and her first collection The House on Parkgate Street and other Dublin stories was published in 2013. Her first play, Snow Angels premiered at the Project Theatre Dublin in 2014 and the text of same is published in March 2015 (New Island Books). The Lives of Women is her seventh novel. She is a member of Aosdana.


This study of suburbia shows how the "savagery of respectability" can wreck lives... A reflection on neglect that engages right to the shocking end. * Psychologies * One of Ireland's most lauded modern writers, Christine Dwyer Hickey teases out the strands of her story, circling the mysterious heart of the plot, but holding back the revelation of its utmost secret almost until the end. The distances between men and women and parent and child have rarely been so sadly - and brutally - laid bare. It leaves the reader with the aftertaste of regret for their own what might have been... * Daily Mail * A stunning portrait of a section of '70s Ireland... The Lives of Women is a wonderful read - thought provoking and compelling - and is, to my mind, Christine's best to date. * Irish Times * The novelist is adept at capturing the voice of Elaine, particularly as a teen, in this richly textured, insightful and uncompromising look at life in unforgiving 1970s Ireland. Another triumph for this talented and original writer. * Irish Independent * Like Colm Toibin and William Trevor, Dwyer Hickey is adroit at painting village life in Ireland... Dwyer Hickey is as astute in conveying everyday conversation as dark events... It left me with that vague, almost physical chest ache one feels on experiencing great sadness. * Independent on Sunday * Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability. Here is a novel that will truly make us think about the lives of women. * Newstalk *

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