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).