Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson
The #1 Irish bestseller and winner of Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2019 An Post Irish Book Awards,
Shortlisted: 2020 Rathbones Folio Prize
Shortlisted: 2020 Royal Irish Academy’s Michel Déon Prize (winner will be announced later in 2020).
2019 overall Book of the Year, The Big Issue
Constellations was published in 2019 by Picador, followed by a paperback edition in April 2020. It was published in the US by Mariner / HMH books in March 2020, with foreign translations forthcoming in 2021.
“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 these powerful and daring essays Sinéad 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, Sinéad 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.
“Sinéad 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. Sinéad Gleeson is an absolute force: if you want to know where passion and tenacity are born, read this book.” Anne Enright
“These brilliant essays read as if Gleeson has made a vow to her readers to illuminate what it means to live in a human body—for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health—all the days of her life. Come for the dark jokes and existential dread. Stay for the beauty and tenderness.”
—Jenny Offill, author of Weather, Dept. of Speculation
”Constellations is a glitteringly brilliant book; daring in its voice, beautiful in its forms, challenging in its subjects. It dazzled me with its adventure and ambition. These essays stand as radiant single entities but also, over the book’s course, constellate into a larger structure of thought about what Gleeson calls ‘the story of a life in a body’. Political, poetic, tender and angry, this is a remarkable book and an astonishing debut.” Robert MacFarlane
“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
“My god what an absolutely incredible book . . . It’s stunning . . . This is one of those you read every ten years and it changes you.” —Evie Wyld, author of All the Birds, Singing, The Bass Rock