Available in trade paperback and ebook formats, As You Were is also available as a hardcover printed in a limited edition of 300 copies, signed and numbered by the author. It’s available exclusively from Biblioasis.
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize • Winner of the 2021 Kate O’Brien Award • Winner of the 2021 Dalkey Emerging Writer Award
Sinéad Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terrifying secret. No-one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie. But she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighbouring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. And Sinéad needs them both.
As You Were is about intimate histories, institutional failures, the kindness of strangers, and the darkly present past of modern Ireland; about women’s stories and women’s struggles; about seizing the moment to be free. Wildly funny, desperately tragic, inventive and irrepressible, As You Were introduces a brilliant voice in Irish fiction with a book that is absolutely of our times.
Praise for As You Were
“A mighty, turbulent firestorm of a book, with a pulsing, rhythmic narrative voice. A compelling cast of characters with pitch perfect dialogue, it is tender, nuanced, forensically controlled and thrillingly unrestrained.”—Jury Statement from the 2021 Dalkey Emerging Writer Award
“Feeney’s brilliant debut follows an Irish woman’s struggle to accept a terminal cancer diagnosis … Feeney skillfully tells the stories of other patients, including Margaret Rose, recovering from a stroke, and Jane, suffering from dementia. In the closed space of the ward, these three women share their secrets … Never sentimental, and full of well-crafted dialogue and rich descriptions, the story is driven forward by Sinéad’s strong narration. This powerful work perfectly balances tragedy and hope.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Funny, visceral, so well observed … I was blown away.”—Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain
“Irish poet Elaine Feeney’s not-to-be-missed debut novel, As You Were, is smart, witty, and very engaging … Two things set this extraordinary novel apart: the amazing writing—lyrical, natural, often very funny, and always affecting; and Sinéad, a woman with whom Feeney captures the pain of self-reflection and the stubborn resilience of hope.”—Lori Feathers, Interabang Books (Dallas, TX)
“Acerbic, funny, and sad, poet Elaine Feeney’s fiction debut is a bitingly compassionate commentary on community found in the most trying of circumstances … A colorful group of characters—think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but narrated by a woman in an oncology ward. Her ward mates form the family that Sinéad needs, and they care for each other in their own often clumsy, misguided ways. The story is told in small vignettes made up of memories, dreams, and observations a la Jenny Offill. Each fragment is a prismatic view of Sinéad’s fear, exhaustion, and wonder at life’s rich pageant.”—Grace Harper, Mac’s Backs (Cleveland Heights, OH)
“Elaine Feeney’s As You Were is an absolute rollercoaster! Always funny, at times deeply emotional, this unconventional novel explores motherhood, illness, friendship, and marriage in a way that’s rarely so direct and relatable. This should be on everyone’s year-end reading list.”—Kasey Kane Charbonneau, Country Bookshelf (Bozeman, MT)
“An absolute treasure that deserves to be recognized for its complete brilliance!”—Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor (Webster Groves, MO)
“As You Were is an absolute tour de force: raw, sharp and wild. Elaine Feeney writes with such love for and understanding of her characters. It’s the literary equivalent of a stiff drink beside a warm fire: a book that will rattle you before it settles you.”—Lisa McInerney
“As You Were was just (effing) amazing. Brimful of brilliant characters, what an exciting, visceral, poetic read. I adored the lack of sentimentality. Sinéad Hynes is complex and excellently realised role model too, for I found her (sometime) selfishness thrillingly refreshing. As You Were gives permission to Irish women to put themselves first, and considering what we’ve come from, that’s seismic. Elaine Feeney is such a talent. I LOVED it!”—Marian Keyes
“A truly original voice. Raw, urgent and uncompromising about the lengths we go to to conceal hurt, deception, psychic pain … A brilliant portrayal of the kindness of strangers, the kinship of women and the heartbreak of married love.”—Mary Costello
“The dialogue just crackles, the characters are so alive and real, there’s tragedy here, there’s comedy, there’s everything. It’s a really really fabulous book.”—Donal Ryan
“Comic, heartfelt and full of characters who walk off the page, it feels like Irish writing has been waiting a long time for a voice as unique and insistent as Elaine Feeney. A superb, unforgettable debut.”—Sinéad Gleeson
“Riveting … I was exhilarated reading this.”—Roddy Doyle
“An absolutely fabulous book.”—Kevin Barry