The Lives of Women

The Lives of Women

by

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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 1970's 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.

Title:The Lives of Women
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781782390053
Format Type:

    The Lives of Women Reviews

  • Barbara

    Set in a Dublin suburb, the book spans several decades. The woman at the center of the story is Elaine Nichols who leaves home as a teen, and returns from New York as a woman in her early 50's. She co...

  • Ellie M

    I was given a review copy by the publishers after showing an interest. I thought the premise of the book sounded interesting and it definitely lived up to my expectations.This is in a sense a coming-o...

  • Lesley Moseley

    I really found this book very well-written, the characters exceptionally 'real', and due to the nature of EBOOKS, couldn't go back to clarify a few 'clues', I needed to revisit, at the end. Hopefully ...

  • Kimbofo

    Christine Dwyer Hickey may possibly be Ireland’s most under-rated writer. She’s written seven novels — I’ve read the oh-so brilliant but heart-breaking Tatty and the inventive award-winning Th...

  • Thea

    A bit of a book where as I read it and as I finished it, I thought "is that it?" That sounds harsh, and I don't think of this as a bad book, just underwhelming. It's very well written and I easily set...

  • Mary Lou

    Elaine, dispatched in haste to New York in the wake of an unspecified scandal when she was sixteen, returns home to Ireland for the first, for her mother’s funeral thirty years on. The chapters alte...

  • Lesley

    Despite the often elegant writing I found myself skip reading many pages, desperate for something to happen. When it did, right towards the end, it left me with so many unanswered questions that I fel...

  • Yvonne

    Ending a little abrupt for my taste, otherwise a very well constructed story that sheds light on what it meant to be a woman in Ireland in the times of the Magdalene laundries......

  • Jaclyn

    3.5 stars. A slow building novel where nothing much happens until the very end where we find out that so much had happened. Lovely gentle writing. It explores the female characters in great depth whil...

  • Snoakes

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. It's a dual narrative with chapters alternating between past and present, set in a stifling suburban cul-de-sac. Both strands slowly edge towards revealing the tragedy that ch...