Eggshells by Catriona Lally


Catriona Lally

This urban fairytale is a modern take on Joyce’s ambulatory paean to the city of Dublin. Wordplay on ‘changeling’ and ‘challenging’ sums up the beguiling narrator, who seems, in the Irish phrase, to be literally ‘away with the fairies’. Her whimsical perspective, as she searches for a portal to the ‘otherworld’, bring the city and its culture to life in an entertaining and touchingly original way.


I leave the museum and head to College Green. I cross the street with the disused public toilets, which might be as enchanted a water source on May Day as a holy well .... An electrical box stands on the western end, with a picture of a ballerina crossing her legs in a pirouette. It looks like she needs to go to the toilet. There’s a strong smell of piss; I’m not sure if it’s recent or if it’s the ghostly smell of pisses past or if the ballerina hasn’t succeeded in holding it in. I walk sun-wise around the toilets three times and toss some coins down the steps, but I don’t shut my eyes because I’m on the edge of a traffic island in the middle of a busy street, and being flattened by a bus is a miserable way of getting to the otherworld.

  • Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

Books with similar mood

The Last Flight of the Flamingo

Mia Couto

The Character of Rain

Amelie Nothomb


Olivia Laing


Heather McGowan

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

Walter Moers

Before and After

Matthew Thomas

My Father's Wives

Jose Eduardo Agualusa

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery

Making Love

Marius Brill

The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

The Missing Shade of Blue

Jenny Erdal

Roo Kickkick & the Big Bad Blimp

Ryan Gattis

The Age of Cardboard and String

Charles Boyle

Key to Treehouse Living

Elliot Reed

The Brilliant & Forever

Kevin MacNeil

White Star

Robin Llywelyn


Nick Walker


Miguel Syjuco

Queen of Dreams

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Wedding

Imraan Coovadia

The Ministry of Special Cases

Nathan Englander

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Claire North

Natural Novel

Georgi Gospodinov

The Deadman's Pedal

Alan Warner

Mr Darwin's Gardener

Kristina Carlson

There But For The

Ali Smith

I'm Off

Jean Echenoz


Luke Kennard

River of Smoke

Amitav Ghosh

The Manual of Detection

Jedediah Berry

The Dog of the Marriage

Amy Hempel

Instruction Manual for Swallowing

Adam Marek


Charles Simic

Panoramic Lounge Bar

John Stammers

Leonard and Hungry Paul

Rónán Hession

The Bitter Taste of Time

Bea Gonzalez

Mr Chartwell

Rebecca Hunt

99 Nights in Logar

Jamil Jan Kochai

Tale of a Certain Orient

Milton Hatoum

Good Offices

Evelio Rosero

How To Be Both

Ali Smith

The Lammas Hireling

Ian Duhig

Miss Garnet's Angel

Salley Vickers

How to be Human

Paula Cocozza

Senlin Ascends

Josiah Bancroft

The Wonder

Diana Evans

Come, Thou Tortoise

Jessica Grant

Something Rotten

Jasper Fforde


Yasmina Reza