Eggshells- Caitriona Lally

This review needs a disclosure to begin with: I spent two years in college with Caitriona Lally, before she decided to change tack and study English instead. We’d lost touch over the years, so when ‘Eggshells’ first appeared, I spent a while wondering ‘Is that…?’  before confirming that yes, it was ‘my’ Catriona Lally.

There is something Joycean about ‘Eggshells’, in a stream of consciousness and love letter to Dublin sort of way. In fact, were I to live in Dublin, I could see myself on an ‘Eggshells Tour’, following in character Vivian’s footsteps (and bus routes), as she negotiates the city, trying to find somewhere she belongs. Vivian doesn’t know where she fits in, and neither, it seems, does anyone else- not her neighbours or her incongruously named sister, Vivian.

‘ I used to bring home damp and gleaming shells, I used to think that if I found the perfect shell I would find the shape of the world, but I was always disappointed’.

This is not so much a story as an observational character study. I imagine how you react to it may depend on your tolerance for Vivian’s eccentricity and obsessiveness (there are many lists of items throughout that Vivian diligently copies into her notebook). Vivian provides a different way of looking at world, both its notable and mundane aspects. Perhaps it is a form of observation that we as readers could bring to our own locales to view them afresh, be that in Dublin or elsewhere.

 

After You-Jo Jo Moyes

‘The day was beautiful, even under strip-lights. Outside birds sang, a new morning dawned, people lived and grew and got better and looked forward to getting older. I bought a coffee and ate an over-sweet muffin and they tasted like the most delicious things I had ever had.’

‘After You’ follows the story of Liz Clark, first brought to us in ‘Me Before You’, a book I enjoyed, even I did not weep copiously like all the reader reviewers mentioned in the end pages. Continue reading “After You-Jo Jo Moyes”

The Dressmaker of Dachau- Mary Chamberlain

‘Ada Vaughan-modiste’

This is a consistent refrain of Ada’s, the eponymous ‘Dressmaker of Dachau’.  Though not over-used, it did wear a little thin on me by the book’s end.

Mary Chamberlain takes us on a journey following Ada from the glamour of London & Paris through her experiences in the Second World War & afterwards. Ada dreams of escaping her humble working class origins being a couture designer with her own ‘House of Vaughan’, a journey which starts as an apprentice seamstress, but ends somewhat differently. Continue reading “The Dressmaker of Dachau- Mary Chamberlain”

We have a good time…Don’t we?- Maeve Higgins

Within a week of leaving Cobh, this is what I realised- there are millions of ways of living’.

Oh Maeve. All those times I spotted posters for shows in the Firkin Crane just too late, and now you’ve gone to the States (sigh). I think I’d get on very well with Maeve Higgins if I met her. And, in a way, I have. Such is the wonder of books (and having Mr. WB to buy them as presents!) Continue reading “We have a good time…Don’t we?- Maeve Higgins”