These Days

These Days by Lucy Caldwell

Lucy Caldwell bases her new novel These Days on the city of her own birth – Belfast during the time of the Belfast Blitz in 1941. She tells the story of two sisters, Audrey and Emma, the daughters of a prestigious doctor living in East Belfast. The dreadful and persistent bombing of the city by the Luftwaffe force both the girls out into the world– Emma is adventurous and impulsive, volunteering for the Red Cross and risking her own life regularly to rescue and help others, while Audrey is more drawn to the lighter things in life, stepping out with a young doctor by night and working in an office by day. The depiction of everyday life in the midst of such extreme destruction is keenly described, giving us insight into life – and death - in Belfast during the war. The writer delicately balances the stories between the two girls comparing and contrasting their chosen paths, the blasts and explosions of the Blitz peppering their lives as much as the ‘Ulsterisms’ that are used to colour the dialogue.

The result is a novel that is as familiar as your Granny’s soda farls or Sunday roast dinner, as dreadful as the bombs and explosions in our own recent past and as fiercely human as every diverse relationship you will ever come across in today’s world.

Submitted by Jillian