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After more than thirty years in New York City, Elaine Nichols returns home to Ireland to her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. As a pregnant teenager she was sent away to avoid scandal and possible legal consequences. Shuttling back and forth between two time zones--the 1970s and the present--and set in a Cheever-esque suburb of sadness and shame, The Lives of Women deals with the savagery of respectability, betrayal, and the desperation that ensues when a sixteen-year-old girl gets pregnant and feels she has no one to help her, apart from her friends. Hickey (The Cold Eye of Heaven, Last Train from Liguria) shows herself to be a storyteller of rare ability and a stylist of clarifying beauty.