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The Lives of Women by Christine Dwyer Hickey
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The Lives of Women

by Christine Dwyer Hickey

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Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. The house backing on to theirs is sold and as she watches the old furniture being removed, she is taken back to a summer in the 1970's when she was almost sixteen and this small out-of-town estate was an enclave for women and children while the men are mysterious shadows who leave every day for the outside world.

The women are isolated but keep their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability. When an American divorcee and her daughter move into the estate this veneer begins to crack. The women learn how to socialise, how to drink martinis, how to care less about their wifely and maternal duties.

While the women are distracted, Elaine and her friends find their own entry into the adult world. The result is a tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine's life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile.

Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability.
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