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These Days

Lucy Caldwell

From ‘one of Ireland’s most essential writers’ (Sunday Times) comes the exquisite story of two sisters trying to survive in life and love against the backdrop of the Belfast Blitz.

Date Published
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A Guardian and Observer Fiction Highlight for 2022 and a Bookseller Editor’s Choice – the new novel from the Winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2021
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Two sisters, four nights, one city.

April, 1941. Belfast has escaped the worst of the war – so far. Over the next two months, it’s going to be destroyed from above, so that people will say, in horror, My God, Belfast is finished.

Many won’t make it through, and no one who does will remain unchanged.

Following the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey – one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman – as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz, These Days is a timeless and heart-breaking novel about living under duress, about family, and about how we try to stay true to ourselves.

Critic Reviews

A novel of enormous heart; full of luminous passages of prose, this tale of the Belfast blitz is breathtakingly good.

ALEX PRESTON, Observer, Fiction to look out for in 2022
Critic Reviews

Meticulously researched, perfectly imagined, full of compassion and emotional truth.

Critic Reviews

Anyone who read Lucy Caldwell's Intimacies will know what a beautiful writer she is and These Days, her first novel in a decade, is really something special. The narrative follows the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey, who live with their parents in a well-to-do area of the city, as they all try to survive the Belfast Blitz. So vividly evoked, this brought what life must have been like on the Home Front to life for me like nothing I've read before.

Alice O'Keeffe, Bookseller, Editor's Choice
Critic Reviews

Adroit, precise storytelling, atmospheric and satisfying; These Days is a novel of real substance.

Critic Reviews

What a visceral, powerful, authentic novel! It’s hard to believe Lucy Caldwell didn’t actually live through the Belfast Blitz, it’s so accurately depicted. I felt I was there with the bombs, the blood, the chaos, the fear, and the resilience.

Critic Reviews

Caldwell's luminous novel presents a city under siege and a family in anguish. Her sense of life during wartime and her psychological portraiture cannot be faulted; the cumulative force of personal and public crisis will not be forgotten. This is storytelling of a vertiginously high order.


Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. She is the author of four novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, and two collections of short stories: Multitudes and Intimacies. She won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2021 for ‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’. Other awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the George Devine…

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