After a long exile spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to live in the home of her childhood with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. The house backing on to theirs has been sold and as the old furniture is removed to make way for the new, she is taken back in time to a summer in the 1970’s when she was almost sixteen. Then, this small out-of-town estate was an enclave for women and children while the men were mysterious shadows who left every day for the outside world. The women were isolated but kept their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability. When an American mother and daughter move into the estate, the 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 blind friend Agatha, find their own entry into the adult world. The result would be a tragic event that would mark the rest of Elaine’s life and become the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile.
The Lives of Women
Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability. A novel that truly makes us think about the lives of women.
In the Media
Insightful portrayal of suburban Ireland of 1970s brings author another success
I have a confession. This is the first time that I’ve read any of the works of Christine Dwyer Hickey – Dwyer Hickey proves that she knows just how to slowly build up the levels of suspense and she keeps the reader engaged until the very last chapter – The upside of discovering the award-winning Dwyer Hickey at this late stage is that I know she has an outstanding back catalogue in which I can happily immerse myself…
Rowena Walsh – Independent.ie
Irish novelist Christine Dwyer Hickey’s The Lives of Women mines the chasm between adults and teenagers, and exposes the narcissism and cruelty that lie behind the respectable front of suburban life.
Cameron Woodhead – Sydney Morning Herald
Dwyer Hickey is excellent on the flat horizons and banal twitterings of the suburbs. Young Elaine and her best friend, Agnes, find their elders ripe for mockery but older Elaine senses something more uneasy within these familiar streets: on a night-time walk she spots, in a ditch “a pair of knickers, slight and tangerine coloured, [lying] like a delicate and wounded bloom”…
Claire Alfree – Independent UK
Dwyer Hickey has done a fantastic job of honing in on that dangerous, delicate time between adolescene and adulthood. The terrifying truth in her novel is that it can all go so wrong so quickly when teenage emotions are left to run unchecked. A well-written and engaging novel.
Arena – RTE Radio 1 – 9th April 2015
Christine Dwyer Hickey talks about her latest book “The Lives Of Women” in which a woman returning home to care for her invalid father remembers what life was like for women in her suburban community in the 1970’s.
The Irish Examiner – April 25 2015
Christine Dwyer Hickey is a woman in a hurry — she fears she might run out of time before she gets to write all the books she wants to. She spoke to Sue Leonard about her race against time and her latest book.