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by Caitriona Lally

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Star Books

LoveReading View on Eggshells

Vivian is one of life’s outsiders; an orphan oddity adrift from the world, whose parents told her she was a Changeling. She posts her aunt’s ashes to her aunt’s friends, and then to strangers from the phone book. She advertises for a friend who “Must Answer to Penelope: Pennies Need Not Apply.” Against the odds, a Penelope responds, and a bond is formed but still, Vivian wanders Dublin, doing the strange things that make perfect sense to her, but arouse alarm in others and the question, “Is everything, alright?” 

This charming, unsettling, magical story about loneliness, reaching out, friendship and hope is laced with dark humour and whimsy. It is at once briskly amusing and deeply moving, and makes a marvellous companion to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Joanne Owen

Eggshells Synopsis

A modern Irish literary gem for anyone who has felt like the odd one out. `Inventive, funny and, ultimately, moving' GUARDIAN `Wildly funny' THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW `Magically delicious' KIRKUS REVIEWS `Beguiling' THE IRISH TIMES `Delightfully quirky' THE IRISH INDEPENDENT Vivian is an oddball. An unemployed orphan living in the house of her recently deceased great aunt in North Dublin, Vivian boldly goes through life doing things in her own peculiar way, whether that be eating blue food, cultivating `her smell', wishing people happy Christmas in April, or putting an ad up for a friend called Penelope to check why it doesn't rhyme with antelope. But behind her heroic charm and undeniable logic, something isn't right. With each attempt to connect with a stranger or her estranged sister doomed to misunderstanding, someone has to ask: is Vivian OK? A poignant and delightful story of belonging that plays with the myth of the Changeling and takes us by the hand through Dublin. A poetic call for us all to accept each other and find the Vivian within.

Eggshells Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A highly original perspective on everyday life. Full review

Annie Day

For fans of Eleanor Oliphant and Bee Larkham. Quirky characters, Dublin-based, funny and sad at the same time! Full review

Agnieszka Higney

A beautifully written and charming story which will have you laughing and will bring tears to your eyes. Full review

kathryn Jolley-Whitfield

If Eleanor Oliphant had an Irish cousin I’m pretty sure it would be Vivian. Full review

Lynne Packer

Was OK read for me, but I know others will enjoy it more than me. I also think whether you like this book or not all comes down to personal preference. Full review


A refreshing view of the world and a good account of how it might feel when you don't fit in with the rest of the world. Full review

Sarah Jones

Eggshells is about Vivian, a unique and otherworldly character adrift in Dublin. Catriona Lally tells her story deftly, with a joy of language that makes it a delight to read. Full review

Sarah Noakes

If you know Dublin, which I don't, I imagine you would love the descriptions contained within this book and it is centred around journeys within Dublin, giving quite detailed descriptions. Full review

Alison Bisping

Eggshells Press Reviews

`Inventive, funny and, ultimately, moving' Guardian

`Full of action and humour as its beguiling narrator takes her surreal jaunts around the capital in search of a portal to another world.... The black comedy gives the book a jaunty quality that complements the dazzling trip around Dublin' The Irish Times

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

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

`This urban fairy tale delivers something that is both subtle and profound in its examination of the human soul. Magically delicious' Kirkus

`A whimsical jaunt through Dublin and a modern take on many old Irish folktakes...Humorous, charming, and original' Booklist

`A strange, lyrical, fantastical, and slightly disturbing book...Vivian is a sympathetic, and utterly unforgettable, character' Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008324407
Publication date: 20/09/2018
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008324407
Publication date: 20th September 2018
Author: Caitriona Lally
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Star Books,
Collections: 40 unmissable magic realist reads - “It’s real-life, but not as we know it”, 30 Hidden Gems - Fantastic Fiction That Deserves to Be on Your Radar, 50+ Beautifully Written Books,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction & related items,

About Caitriona Lally

CAITRIONA LALLY studied English Literature in Trinity College Dublin. She has had a colorful employment history, working as an abstract writer and a copywriter, as well as a home helper in New York and an English teacher in Japan. She has traveled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Caitriona was shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year in the Irish Book Awards in 2015.

More About Caitriona Lally

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