About The Alternatives
The Flattery sisters were plunged prematurely into adulthood when their parents died in tragic circumstances. Now in their thirties—all single, all with PhDs—they are each attempting to do meaningful work in a rapidly foundering world. The four lead disparate, distanced lives, from classrooms in Connecticut to ritzy catering gigs in London’s Notting Hill, until one day their oldest sister, a geologist haunted by a terrible awareness of the earth’s future, abruptly vanishes from her work and home.
Together for the first time in years, the Flatterys descend on the Irish countryside in search of a sister who doesn’t want to be found. Sheltered in a derelict bungalow, they reach into their common past, confronting both old wounds and a desperately uncertain future. Warm, fiercely witty, and unexpectedly hopeful, The Alternatives is an unforgettable portrait of a family perched on our collective precipice, told by one of Ireland’s most gifted storytellers.
Caoilinn Hughes is the author of Orchid & the Wasp (2018), which won the Collyer Bristow Prize and was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, and The Wild Laughter (2020), which won the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award and was longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. She was recently the Oscar Wilde Centre Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, and is currently a Cullman Fellow at New York Public Library for 2023-2024.