An Unravelling

By: Elske Rahill

Publication Date: 13 June 2019


An Unravelling by Elske Rahill

Molly is now in her eighties and she helps her grand-daughters Cara and Freya bring up their young children with unstinting care. Hers has been a life of unselfpitying service, from her working-class Dublin girlhood to her current status as the wealthy widow of a famous artist. But her own children, particularly her daughter Eileen, are her life’s great failure: unhappy, self-indulgent women who resent the younger generation’s apparent freedom from guilt and their unconventional family arrangements.

This intricate web of female relationships comes under terrible strain when Molly, her health sapped by her constant efforts on behalf of others, decides to consult the family solicitor about changing her will. An Unravelling is a novel of great tenderness in its depiction of the small pleasures of family life and ruthless in its portrayal of the dangerous power of money.  

Published by Head of Zeus

‘Rahill’s aim is to represent, with visceral intensity, the whole disintegrating web of a family, in which every node is under strain and where paroxysms along the web affect every point of conjunction.’ Stevie Davies, The Guardian

‘Elske Rahill is particularly good at writing from the viewpoint of children.’ Anna Carey, The Irish Times

‘A well-written and fascinating novel, weighing in at a hefty 485 pages, An Unravelling is more than the sum of its parts.’ Mary Byrne, Books Ireland

‘I never wanted to say goodbye to these characters.’ Customer review


Born in 1982, Elske Rahill graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with an M.Phil in Creative Writing and Gender and Women’s Studies. As an actor she appeared in the Abbey and Gate theatres. Author of the plays After Opium (2003) and How to Be Loved (2008), she is currently working on a short story collection. Her stories ‘Manners’ (2011) and ‘Bride’ (2012) were published in The Dublin Review.



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Weight 0.6 kg
Publication Date

13 June 2019


Paperback, 496pp