Common Decency by Susannah Dickey - review by Sean Russell

Sean Russell

Home Alone

Common Decency


Doubleday 320pp £14.99

It is perhaps just a coincidence that some of the sharpest chroniclers of millennial ennui – Sally Rooney, Naoise Dolan, Megan Nolan – are from Ireland. What this does tell us, though, is that Irish literature is currently in very good health. Susannah Dickey is from Northern Ireland and her second novel, Common Decency, puts her firmly among their number. It is a wonderful book, its plot best summed up by something one of the main characters, Siobhán, says towards the end of the book: ‘Do you ever worry that you’re just waiting for a better part of your life to start?’

Siobhán lives above Lily in a building in Belfast. Both women live alone. Lily left Derry shortly after her mother – one of the few people in her life she felt close to – died of cancer and is struggling to cope. She spends her time rewatching the

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