eBook - 2017 | First edition
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a-- From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Brooklyn : Melville House, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781612195988
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Dec 15, 2020

So, have you had a chance to read Caitriona Lally's novel "Eggshells"? I finished it a week ago, and have been pondering it, since. I have mixed feelings about it.

Here are my negative observations: 1. The heroine, Vivian, constantly makes lists of things that she discovers in Dublin. Since the story is told from her point of view, these dozens of lists become part of the text. Unfortunately, although the lists help to illustrate V's magical thinking, they get a bit tedious because they do not advance the plot. Which brings me to observation 2., which is, there is no plot. This is not a story in the traditional sense, but more of a stream-of-consciousness screed a la James Joyce. The text reels from vignette to vignette, with little to connect the bits.

Here are my positive observations: 1. You can't help but like Vivian; she has a wonderfully twisted view of the world, as you'd expect from someone who believes that they are a changeling. Her humour is odd, but definitely affecting. She hints at dark things that were done to her by her father, but she will not or cannot provide details. Is she remembering these events, or creating them? Either way, she is a sympathetic character, although she would be far too much work to have as a real friend. My positive observation 2. is that the book is an imaginative (if obscure) tour of one of the world's Great Cities.

I did enjoy the book, but the lack of a plot curve and (in my mind) the book's failure to even hint at an ending, or a revelation, or a bit of hope for Vivian tempered that enjoyment. Vivian is a tormented but effervescent soul. She certainly is her story's hero, but she might just be the villain as well. And that is where her story becomes ours.

Nov 18, 2018

I started off enjoying the book, but mid-way found that the book lacked forward progress. It became repetitive and lackluster and I found it hard to slog through it. An interesting premise and a few very enjoyable lines/observations.

Apr 16, 2017

The orphan Vivian, living in Dublin, believing herself to be a changeling, traverses Dublin as a modern day Leopold Bloom searching for a portal to send her home to the fairies. It is not a fairy tale and is not long on plot. Lally's use of, exploration of and description of language is at the heart of the book as well as her kooky character Vivian. It was and IrishTimes book of the month club to rave reviews.


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