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Cover for Constellations

Constellations

Reflections from Life

Sinéad Gleeson

Paperback

List Price: 15.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
MP3 CD (3/24/2020)

Description

The #1 Irish bestseller and winner of Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2019 An Post Irish Book Awards, winner of the 2020 Dalkey Literary Awards, named Best Book of the Year by the Guardian, Observer, Image, Irish Times, New Statesman, and Irish Independent, Sinéad Gleeson’s essays chronicle—in crystalline, tender, powerful prose—life in a body as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood, and love of all kinds.

"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."

We treat the body as an afterthought, until it no longer can be. Until the pain or the pleasure is too great. Sinéad Gleeson’s life has been marked by terrible illness, including leukemia and debilitating arthritis. As a child, she bathed in the springs of Lourdes, ever hopeful that her body would cooperate, ever looking forward to the day when she could take her body for granted. But just as she turns inward to explore her own pain, and then the marvel of recovery, and then the arrival of her greatest joys—falling in love, becoming a mother—she turns her gaze outward. She delves into history, art, literature, and music, plotting the intimate experience of life in a women’s body across a wide-ranging map. From Nick Cave to Taylor Swift, Botticelli to Frida Kahlo, Louisa May Alcott to Lucy Grealy, Constellations is an investigation into the different ways of seeing, both uniquely personal and universal in its resonances.

In the tradition of some of our finest life writers, Gleeson explores—in her own spirited, generous voice—the fierceness of being alive. She has written “a book [that] every woman should read” (Eimear McBride).


Praise For Constellations: Reflections from Life

#1 BESTSELLER IN IRELAND  WINNER OF THE IRISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE  FINALIST FOR THE MICHEL DEON PRIZE  FINALIST FOR THE DALKEY LITERARY AWARD  NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN * OBSERVER * IMAGE IRISH TIMES * NEW STATESMAN * IRISH INDEPENDENT    “Bell-clear and immaculately hewn throughout, Gleeson's voice is also strikingly muscular and dexterous . . . Her voice and what she says with it is everything her body hasn’t been — vigorous, adamantine, assured . . . Powerful registers are struck, and always there is something linking the discussion back to what is for the writer the most tangibly immediate components of her life. This is where she cracks you wide open . . . You’d need a heart of stone to resist these hymns and paeans . . . A book brimming with vitality and sincerity.” Independent (UK)     “[Gleeson's] personal stories of pain, illness and death are unforgettable…Her experiences are rendered vividly and with an admirable lack of self-pity...Gleeson has an eye for telling detail.” New York Times Book Review   "[Gleeson] writes about pain with an absorbing intensity...Constellations will make you think differently about the body in all its weaknesses and feel grateful to the artists and writers who—like Gleeson—have transfigured their suffering into a sacred creative release. Though Gleeson is skeptical of heaven, she finds solace in the stars and their many constellations. In this book, she offers a unique map of her own constellations, one that has clearly helped her find her way when navigating a wide and painful world." BookPage   “Gleeson is an eloquent storyteller, and the stories are held in delicate balance with the analysis of her world.” Guardian (UK)   “Sinéad Gleeson’s essay collection brings together passionate, transcendent essays about bodies and art, ghosts and womanhood, grief and motherhood, and what it’s like to live in a body that fails you. Like the perfect title indicates, this is a glistening ensemble of pieces that live on their own but, all together, form a powerful emotional universe.” Elle (UK), "Ones to watch in 2019"   “Outstanding . . . wide-ranging, intimate, and expressive . . . it’s clear that Gleeson’s insight is hard-won, and that, like the women who inspire her, she has found a way to transmute her experience into something powerful that demands to be heard.” Observer (UK)   “Gleeson’s eye for detail, particularly the absurd or tragic, is dangerously sharp. She is a thoughtful writer who emerges from her illnesses resilient and unbowed.”  —Times(Ireland)     “Dazzling . . . Things are changing, thanks to tireless campaigners like Gleeson. These essays are political and they tell of how a life can be saved several times and lived to the full, despite great pain, despite great obstacles.”  —Irish Times     “An eloquent collection of essays on health, parenthood and the brutality of being a woman inhabiting a body.” Harper's Bazaar, “Irish writers are taking over literature—These are the seven you need to know about”   "This stirring collection of personal —

Ecco, 9780358213031, 256pp.

Publication Date: March 24, 2020



About the Author

SINÉAD GLEESON is a writer, editor and freelance broadcaster. She has been published in Granta, among many other places, and is the editor of three award-winning short anthologies, including The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers. Previously, Gleeson presented The Book Show on RTÉ Radio One in Ireland. She currently lives in Dublin.