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.
These Days won both the 2023 Walter Scott Prize For Historical Fiction and the 2022 E. M. Forster Award
Praise for “These Days”
‘A gem of a novel, I adored it.’
‘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
‘Meticulously researched, perfectly imagined, full of compassion and emotional truth.’
‘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
‘Adroit, precise storytelling, atmospheric and satisfying; These Days is a novel of real substance.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘Meticulously researched and utterly convincing, These Days recovers the lost stories of so many, bringing the past horrors of the Belfast Blitz brilliantly to life like a haunting flare.’
‘Beautiful, lyrical, and deeply moving, These Days is a wonderful novel.’
‘These Days is a deeply moving story of family, loss, sisterhood and how you can find yourself, even in the darkest of times. A truly gorgeous piece of storytelling, I could see and feel every word. Another absolute triumph for Lucy Caldwell.’’
‘A captivating novel exploring a lesser known chapter of Northern Ireland’s story. Caldwell has managed to capture the spirit and tenacity of the Belfast I know and love. This is a novel which looks suffering straight in the eye and yet will leave you full of hope.’