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As You Were by Elaine Feeney review – a poet's darkly comic fiction debut

This tragicomic tale of a thirtysomething mother with a terrible secret serves as a keen-eyed portrait of modern Ireland

Elaine Feeney has published three acclaimed collections of poetry before turning to novels, and her fiction debut, As You Were, is steeped in the rhythms and evocative language that mark her poems. Voices jostle with one another, Galway colloquialisms woven in with text speak and emojis, as a run-down hospital ward serves as a microcosm for contemporary Ireland.

The narrator, Sinéad Hynes, a mother of three in her late 30s, has been admitted after collapsing. It’s eight months since she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but she has put off telling her husband (and sons): “I thought it was a dreadfully selfish thing to do to another person, fill him up with worry and uncertainty, to try and make him figure out death.” Instead, she obsessively Googles drugs and cures and outcomes alongside the mundane business of daily life.

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12 Bytes by Jeanette Winterson review – engaging history of technological progress

Whether examining sex dolls or transhumanism, the novelist brings her skill as a storyteller to thes...

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Animal by Lisa Taddeo review – dangerous liaisons in Los Angeles

A damaged woman embarks on a sexual odyssey in this visceral exploration of empowerment and consentL...

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The Authority Gap by Mary Ann Sieghart review – mocked, patronised and still paid less than men

Drawing on a wealth of research, Sieghart explores the unconscious bias that belittles and undermine...

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Black and Blue by Parm Sandhu review – home truths about life in the Met

The police force’s former highest ranked BAME officer tells of her 30-year fight against entrenched...

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Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead review – a soaring achievement

Charting the parallel lives of two women – one an aviation pioneer, the other a modern movie star –...

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Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn review – battle for the female body

The shocking mistreatment of women by the medical establishment is laid bare in a compelling social ...

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