4.08 (230 ratings by Goodreads)
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A powerful and poetic novel from the multi-award-winning author of Tangleweed and Brine

Ces longs to be a tattoo artist and embroider skin with beautiful images. But for now she's just trying to reach adulthood without falling apart.

Powerful, poetic and disturbing, Needlework is a girl's meditation on her efforts to maintain her bodily and spiritual integrity in the face of abuse, violation and neglect.

`Reading Needlework is similar to getting your first tattoo - it's searing, often painful, but it is an experience you'll never forget.' - Louise O'Neill, author of The Surface Breaks and Asking For It

`Needlework is a powerful novel that deserves to be read.' - Sarah Crossan, author of One and We Come Apart

`I loved Deirdre Sullivan's Needlework, a novel that is just as sharp and precise as its title suggests.' - Doireann Ni Ghriofa, poet

`A modern, broken fairy tale that gets under your skin.' - Tara Flynn, author and comedian
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 10mm | 210g
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • English
  • Black and white illustration - 1
  • 1910411507
  • 9781910411506
  • 331,591

Review quote

Material handled with all the delicacy of touch we would expect from the most talented of tattooists. -- Robert Dunbar * The Irish Times * Beautiful and poetic. -- Catherine Doyle * The Irish Times * A brave, necessary book that burned into my heart. -- Sarah Webb * The Irish Times * So beautiful that you won't want to put it down, even as your heart is breaking for Ces. -- Kim Hood * The Irish Times * My number one most adored for this year has to be Deirdre Sullivan's Needlework. -- Jacq Murphy * The Irish Times * This is a powerful novel that haunts you long after you have read the final page. -- Caroline Busher * The Irish Times * The details of the skill, knowledge and painstaking preparation required are as alluring as the descriptions of delicate, powerful and enduring images, while the idea of blemishing the skin in order to create beauty is a metaphor for Ces's path through life. * The Observer * A word of advice: do not read this book after 2 am as you might start crying - although it's definitely worth it. * The Guardian *
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About Deirdre Sullivan

Deirdre Sullivan is from Galway and is now living in Dublin, where she works as a teacher.

Her hugely acclaimed Tangleweed and Brine, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales, won the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year Award in 2018 and Young Adult Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2017. Previously, her novel Needlework had won the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children's Books Ireland Awards in 2017.

Sullivan's Primrose Leary series was also widely praised; two of the Prim books were shortlisted for the Children's Books Ireland Awards; and the final one, Primperfect, was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.
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Rating details

230 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 40% (93)
4 36% (83)
3 17% (38)
2 6% (13)
1 1% (3)
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