Constellations : Reflections From Life

4.24 (510 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Number One Irish Bestseller

'Utterly magnificent. Raw, thought-provoking and galvanising; this is a book every woman should read.' Eimear McBride, author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing.

'Outstanding . . . demands to be heard' Observer

I have come to think of all the metal in my body as artificial stars, glistening beneath the skin, a constellation of old and new metal. A map, a tracing of connections and a guide to looking at things from different angles.

How do you tell the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood? How do you tell that story when you are not just a woman but a woman in Ireland? In the powerful and daring essays in Constellations Sinead Gleeson does that very thing. All of life is within these pages, from birth to first love, pregnancy to motherhood, terrifying sickness, old age and loss to death itself. Throughout this wide-ranging collection she also turns her restless eye outwards delving into work, art and our very ways of seeing. In the tradition of some of our finest life writers, and yet still in her own spirited, generous voice, Sinead takes us on a journey that is both uniquely personal and yet universal in its resonance. Here is the fierce joy and pain of being alive.

'An absolutely astonishing, brilliant and beautiful book.' Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers

'Absolutely extraordinary and life-enhancing.' Daisy Buchanan, author of How to be Grown-up.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 143 x 223 x 31mm | 384g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1509892737
  • 9781509892730
  • 1,177

Review quote

Gleeson moves nimbly, within and between individual essays, from the minutiae of the personal to the broad sweep of culture, history and politics . . . The result is taut but unforced, textured and various. * Financial Times * Gleeson's writing is honest and moving and delves deep into personal experiences of sickness, health and motherhood. * Lit Hub * In Constellations, Sinead Gleeson, maps the human body and the the human condition in all its triumphs and failures, leaving us with hope and survival. Her writing is startlingly good and fiercely intelligent, her research is forensic and the result is a gift to readers everywhere. -- Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep Sinead Gleeson's essay collection brings together passionate, transcendent essays about bodies and art, ghosts and womanhood, grief and motherhood, and what it's like to live in a body that fails you. Like the perfect title indicates, this is a glistening ensemble of pieces that live on their own but, all together, form a powerful emotional universe. * Elle * Constellations is a truly beautiful book; about the tremendous confines of the body, struck through with almost everything else in the universe, from songs to stars. -- Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither Nimbly written, balletic in style, heartfelt, spirited and thoughtful, Sinead Gleeson's Constellations is a powerful, inspiring gift to readers everywhere. -- Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up Constellations is an extraordinary piece of writing - beautiful, life affirming, and full of heart -- Louise O' Neill, author of Asking For It The most beautiful and brilliant book - gorgeous, furious, powerful, tender, funny, compassionate and shockingly wise. Sinead Gleeson writes with such dazzling talent and vivid insight. Constellations is one of those rare magical books and I feel truly nourished by it. Absolutely extraordinary and life-enhancing. -- Daisy Buchanan, author of How to Be a Grown Up An absolutely astonishing, brilliant and beautiful book. -- Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers Breathtaking and sublime. -- Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina An absolutely astonishing, brilliant and beautiful book. -- Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers Moving, insightful, beautiful essays about health, art, gender, parenthood, bereavement, the body and her own struggles. * Irish Times * Sinead Gleeson has changed the Irish literary landscape, through her advocacy for the female voice. In Constellations, we finally hear her own voice, and it comes from the blood and bones of her body's history. Sinead Gleeson is an absolute force: if you want to know where passion and tenacity are born, read this book. -- Anne Enright Exceptional . . . Bell-clear and immaculately hewn throughout . . . Like Olivia Laing's The Lonely City, this balance between intellect and humanity is what matters . . . besides entertainment and enlightenment, we need writing in our lives that reaches into us and has the potential to leave what's there a little better than it found it. * Irish Independent * Constellations is glitteringly brilliant . . . Political, poetic, tender and angry, a remarkable book and an astonishing debut. -- Robert Macfarlane, author of The Lost Words Sinead Gleeson has written one of those rare things, a wise and compassionate book full of truth and humility. There are universal themes here; love, the strength of women, survival against the odds. Beautiful prose, poetry and history woven together to make this a must-read and a masterpiece. -- Kit De Waal, author of My Name Is Leon Utterly magnificent. Raw, thought-provoking and galvanising; this is a book every woman should read. -- Eimear McBride, author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing Outstanding . . . wide-ranging, intimate and expressive . . . it's clear that Gleeson's insight is hard-won, and that, like the women who inspire her, she has found a way to transmute her experience into something powerful that demands to be heard. * Observer *
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About Sinead Gleeson

Sinead Gleeson is a writer of essays, criticism and fiction. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Winter Papers and Gorse, and a story of hers appears in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories published by Faber. She is the editor of three short anthologies, including The Long Gaze Back: an Anthology of Irish Women Writers and The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, both of which won Best Irish Published Book at the Irish Book Awards. Sinead has worked as an arts critic and broadcaster and has presented The Book Show on RTE Radio 1. She lives in Dublin.
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Rating details

510 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 46% (237)
4 37% (191)
3 12% (59)
2 4% (18)
1 1% (5)
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