Nell and her partner Adrienne are about to have a baby. For Adrienne, it’s the start of a new life. For Nell, it’s the reason the two of them are sitting in a therapist’s office. Because she can’t go into this without dealing with the truth: that she has been a mother before, and now can’t bring herself to speak to her own mother, let alone return home to Ireland.
But to Ireland is where she must go. To the heat of her teenage years in the early 2000s, as Ireland unpicks itself from its faith. To 1983, where her mother Dolores grapples with the tensions of the women’s rights movement. And finally, to the farms and suburbs and towns that made and unmade the lives at the centre of this story, bound together by the terrible secret Nell still cannot face.
Delving into the lives of three women in a changing Ireland, The Amendments is an extraordinary novel about love and freedom, belonging and rebellion – and about how our past is a vital presence which sits alongside us.
Niamh Mulvey's wonderfully compelling characters and deft, clear prose offer great pleasure to the reader. Her sense of political and cultural change is sharp, and the beauty she finds in days of struggle is haunting.
- Joseph O'Connor, author of My Father's House and Star of the Sea
I loved The Amendments by Niamh Mulvey. Rare is the novel that is as significant as it is enjoyable: her characters glimmer with heart and soul, her writing is beautiful and her themes profound. It's a book about mothers and daughters, friendship, hope, bravery and what it means to believe in something. A fantastic and important achievement.
- Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters
A smart, subtle, engrossing and moving novel that gives voice to so much that's unspoken about Ireland and about youth
- Emma Donoghue, playwright and literary scholar
An extraordinary achievement. The Amendments is about a lot of things - love, family, girlhood, growing up, sex, legacy, compassion - all blended into a moving plot, expertly handled. Wonderful.
- Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
There’s so much casually imparted wisdom in Mulvey’s writing that reading her work feels as if you’ve been through therapy without realising it. The Amendments is a compelling, beautifully observed novel about the long reach of shame in the lives of Irish women across generations.
- Sarah Gilmartin, author of Service
It is a long time since I’ve read a more involving novel. The Amendments is ambitious in its political thought, but also intimate and rooted in compelling relationships...Niamh Mulvey’s powerful novel takes Ireland’s constitution changes, the amendments of the title, and shows what had to go on in ordinary homes across the country for them to happen; Irish people – perhaps most especially women – were trying to shake off inherited values.
- Garrett Carr