> Book Review - The Amendments by Niamh Mulvey - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Book Review – The Amendments by Niamh Mulvey

"Mulvey’s debut inspires precious hope."

Abortion rights for women in Ireland are relatively new, only really coming into place with the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. Niamh Mulvey, a writer from Kilkenny, Ireland, puts us firmly at the heart of these issues with new book The Amendments.

An extensive read and fantastic tale about women’s rights and abortion in Ireland, which is sadly still topical, this intricate family saga is a great debut. Mulvey has pieced together a story that highlights the complexities of families, religious beliefs, women’s rights and Ireland in a way that is vivid and delicate, with her focus on three very different women.

Nell is hiding from a raw and formidable past. Her mother, Dolores, explored and educated herself via the women’s rights movement while living in Dublin in the 80s. Martina has suffered traumatic experiences and looks to God for forgiveness.

The novel unfolds over the course of four decades, from 1983 to 2018. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act, which inserted a clause in the Constitution of Ireland that recognised ‘the equal right to life of the pregnant woman and the unborn’, was repealed by referendum in 2018. Ireland and cultural change is pivotal to this well-woven and intricate tale that explores love, life, freedom, and meaning.

Stunningly written, with a careful narrative structure that considers the fragility of family secrets and hidden pasts, Mulvey’s debut inspires precious hope.


The Amendments is out on 18 April 2024, from Picador Books

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