• Sophia Hadef

As You Were, Elaine Feeney

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

As You Were is Elaine Feeney's powerful debut novel, about a Galway woman diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The Irish fiction debut of 2020

'An absolute tour de force: raw, sharp and wild' Lisa McInerney


Sinéad Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terrifying secret. No-one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie. But she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighboring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. Sinéad needs them both. As You Were is about intimate histories, institutional failures, the kindness of strangers, and the darkly present past of modern Ireland. It is about women’s stories and women’s struggles. It is about seizing the moment to be free. Wildly funny, desperately tragic, inventive and irrepressible, As You Were introduces a brilliant voice in Irish fiction with a book that is absolutely of our times.

This beautiful and powerful story celebrates the strength of Irish women.

Elaine Feeney talks about complicated events of life with exquisite Irish humour. In a modern style of writing, the narrative is brilliant. All the characters have a distinctive personality and bring emotions and meaning to the story. It is raw, it is sad, but at the same time so beautiful. The fact that Sinead Hynes's secret was only shared with a magpie and Google made the whole intrigue more touching. As a feminist, I love reading about women's lives, the tragic events that can happen to any of us. This book reflects perfectly the honesty and brutality of life; the humour mixed with harsh feelings make the story so real and sensitive. Living in Galway, I loved the descriptions of this city in the perspective of a native. The story takes place in a hospital ward, and Elaine perfectly captured its emotions and intimacy.

"On the Ward, they were trained to keep you alive, like vultures. I needed to go where they were trained not to. Home."

I am pleased to have received this book for Christmas and discovered a new Irish writer, I am looking forward to reading more from Elaine Feeney and I strongly recommend you to read As You Were. This story will go straight to your heart and soul.

Here is the Goodreads link.

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