by Caitriona Lally


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Vivian doesn't feel like she fits in-never has. She lives alone in a house in North Dublin that her great-aunt left her. She has no friends, no job and few social skills. She knows she is different. Before they died, her parents used to tell her she was a 'changeling' who belonged to another world. Each day, she walks the streets of Dublin, looking for a way to get there, but she never finds one. After all, Dublin has a certain charm, but no actual magic. Instead of a way out, will Vivian find a way to feel like she belongs here in this world? Rooted in Dublin's Northside, Eggshells is a whimsical, touching story about loneliness, friendship and hope.

'Delightfully quirky... Vivian's voice alone is enough to keep us reading, charmed by her unique brand of manic, word-hoarding wit.'- Irish Independent.

'A wonderful debut, funny and touching, with skillful wordplay at work.'- Irish Examiner.

'Highly original, Lally has a unique voice as a writer.'- Sunday Independent.

'A fairy tale of contemporary Dublin. Edgy and eloquent, a remarkable debut.'- Declan Kiberd.

'The book's style calls to mind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Engaging and humorous. The perfect gift to send to expats of Dublin.' -Dublin Inquirer.

'Eggshells expresses a Joycean sense of the ordinary. A brilliantly realized first-person narrative... a memorable debut.'- Totally Dublin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612195971
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 277,751
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Caitriona Lally studied English Literature in Trinity College Dublin. She has had a colourful employment history, working as an abstract writer and a copywriter alongside working as a home help in New York and an English teacher in Japan. She has travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Her essay about Grangegorman appeared in a recent issue of We Are Dublin. Eggshells was selected as one of 12 finalists in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2014.

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Eggshells 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Written from a first person POV, Eggshells was a smartly written and extremely amusing stream of consciousness narrative of a mentally disordered woman with a creative and childlike imagination, which had me frequently giggle-snorting and barking aloud in mirth. Ms. Lally has mad skills and her strong word voodoo conjured crisp and cleverly ridiculous and animated visuals. Vivian liked words, but didn’t enjoy using them aloud. She collected them in lists and had filled notebooks with them, but when forced to interact in the real word, she seemed to have a finite supply of verbal expression at her disposal. But she was apparently making an effort and claimed to be working on using sentences and some arm gestures she had learned from watching soap operas. Smirk. Vivian’s history and family tree seemed rather bizarre and of questionable mental stability as well with oddities that were far beyond mere eccentricity. We aren’t given much information about that, just enough flavor to tease and tantalize. But unlike her harsher relatives, Vivian was a gentle soul, and I adored her. She was a fascinating character with extremely limited personal hygiene (she enjoyed her strong funk), dubious parentage, and an obvious mental disorder. She was hands down, one of the most intriguing and odd main characters - ever. She was in dire need of psychotropic medication and the monitoring of a mental health professional as she spent a considerable amount of time engaging in magical thinking. She also exhibited many OCD characteristics with a hoarding room, fixation on symmetry and even numbers, and completing tasks or behaviors in threes and sevens – for their “transformative powers.” She kept lists of words she liked and invented some to take the place of words she didn’t. I relished her word fixation, as I’m prone to that bit of oddity myself. She also searched each wardrobe for the passageway to Narnia and roamed Dublin on foot, bus, and taxi looking for hobbits, fairies, and portals to other dimensions. Vivian was obviously highly intelligent and had a childlike imagination. One of my favorites of her odd thoughts was when she had placed several objects in her pocket and worried they may have “an inter-substance squabble.” Ingenious!