Liberties Press 2015
252 pages
Fr. 19.90

Caitriona Lally


Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in – never has. She lives alone in a house in north Dublin that her great-aunt left to her. She believes that she is a changeling, left by fairies on Earth, replacing her parents’ healthy human child. Now, as an adult, she’s trying to get back to the ‘other world’, where she feels she can finally belong. The thing is, Vivian is having some difficulties going back, so she’s forced to go about her Earth life in the meantime.

Vivian’s everyday routine, meticulously mapped out on parchment paper, takes her all over Dublin in her effort to get ‘home’. She encounters nosy neighbours, pernickety social workers and her condescending older sister – who is also named Vivian. From making lists in her journal to posting ‘wanted’ advertisements for a friend named Penelope, Vivian leads an eccentric life.

Caitriona Lally offers a witty, exhilarating debut novel in Eggshells. Vivian’s head is filled to the brim with clever one-liners that leave the people she encounters more than a little confused. Her OCD-like tendencies make her human relationships strained, but she still has the house her Great Aunt Maude left her – as long as she doesn’t hurt its feelings.


‘Any book that makes you think this much is a good one. To sustain such an odd voice is a difficult task. Lally pulls it off by being inventive, funny, and, ultimately, rather moving. A daring debut. ‘ —The Guardian

‘A book full of one liners…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.’—Irish Independent

‘A wonderful debut, funny and touching, with skillful wordplay at work. Vivian’s difference intrigues.’ —Irish Examiner

‘Highly original, Lally has a unique voice as a writer.’ —Sunday Independent

‘Engaging and humorous…the perfect gift to send to expats of Dublin.’ —Dublin Inquirer

‘Eggshells expresses a Joycean sense of the ordinary. A brilliantly realised first-person narrative…a memorable debut.’ —Totally Dublin

‘Caitriona Lally has created a character of almost maddening originality.’ —Wales Arts Review

‘A highly impressive debut…a touching account of difference, showing how life must feel for somebody who cannot conform’ —Books Ireland


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 traveled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Eggshells was selected as one of twelve finalists in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2014.