An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2017

An Indie Next List Pick for March 2017

Shortlisted for the 2015 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award

A March 2017 LibraryReads Pick

A whimsical, touching debut about loneliness, friendship, and hope

Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in—and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was “left by fairies.” Now, she is living alone in Dublin, where the neighbors treat her like she’s crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn’t a friend in the world.

So, she decides it’s time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope.

Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from.

And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian’s life begins to change.

Debut author Caitriona Lally offers readers an exhilaratingly fresh take on the Irish love for lyricism, humor, and inventive wordplay in a book that is, in itself, deeply charming, and deeply moving.

Editorial Reviews

“Inventive, funny, and, ultimately, moving.”

Guardian (London)

“Full of action and humor as its beguiling narrator takes her surreal jaunts around the capital in search of a portal to another world…The black comedy gives the book a jaunty quality that complements the dazzling trip around Dublin.”

Irish Times

“Delightfully quirky…Vivian’s voice alone is enough to keep us reading, charmed by her unique brand of manic, word-hoarding wit.”

Irish Independent

“A love letter to Dublin as well as the incantatory and transformative powers of language. Indeed, Vivian’s voice is the real enchantment of this warm, witty debut.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“A whimsical jaunt through Dublin and a modern take on many old Irish folktales…Humorous, charming, and original.”


“This urban fairy tale delivers something that is both subtle and profound in its examination of the human soul. Magically delicious.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Vivian’s fascination with wordplay echoes Lally’s knack for language, and this emphasis is one of the great charms of Eggshells, a sweetly off-kilter novel about loneliness, communication, and finding one’s place in the world.”

Shelf Awareness

Author Biography

Caitriona Lally studied English literature in Trinity College Dublin. She has worked as an abstract writer and copywriter as well as a home helper in New York and an English teacher in Japan. She has traveled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Her novel Eggshells was short-listed for the 2015 Irish Book Award for Newcomer of the Year.

Reader Biography

Alana Kerr Collins is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. She is also an actor, puppeteer, and singer who studied at the Impulse Company in London and earned a BA in drama and English at the University of Dublin, Trinity College. She starred in the short films Rachel 9000, The Deal, and Veritas and has appeared in several television series, including Emu and Big City Park.

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