The Alternatives

Caoilinn Hughes

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2 May 2024
ISBN: 9780861545865
352 pages

From the publisher

Equal parts hilarious and profound, The Alternatives is an urgent new novel from a major voice in Irish fiction

'Superb is the only word for this novel.' Irish Times


'Surprising and delightful... The Alternatives made me laugh, cry, and think.' Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses

Four gifted Irish sisters confront an uncertain future in this dazzling novel from a major literary talent. Perfect for fans of Jonathan Franzen, Maggie O'Farrell and Claire Vaye Watkins.

Olwen, Nell, Maeve and Rhona were plunged prematurely into adulthood when their parents died in tragic circumstances. Now in their thirties, they have each carved out impressive careers – living distant lives, fighting separate battles. But Olwen's disappearance is about to change everything. 

A geologist haunted by the weight of the earth's past and a crushing awareness of its volatile future, Olwen abruptly vanishes from her home without a trace. Her sisters track her down to a remote bungalow in rural Ireland, with little electricity and patchy connection to the outside world. Together for the first time in years, the sisters vie to confront old wounds and diagnose new ills – most urgently, Olwen's.

Fiercely witty and unexpectedly hopeful, The Alternatives is an unforgettable portrait of a family perched on our collective precipice, told by one of Ireland's most gifted storytellers. 

A New Statesman 'Book to Look Forward to in 2024'