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Twenty years after Leo Quick was abandoned by his wife and left to raise their two small children, he receives a phone call bringing explosive news. Fleur, his wife, who went Africa in the fervour of Live Aid, never to be seen or heard from again, has died in Kenya. She has left behind a daughter, Star, a third child to whom Leo is father, though he knew nothing of her existence till now.



In his wife’s absence, Leo has found new love with Denise, and together they have raised his two children. But the consequences of their childhood abandonment are playing out. Kester, his son, has a cocaine habit that is spiraling out of control, and Silvia is haunted by a sense of loneliness and struggling with her own demons.



With Star’s arrival, long-buried hurts resurface as each of the Quicks confront the legacy of Fleur’s desertion. A story of the secrets we keep and the consequences of acting upon our desires, The Absent Wife is a darkly witty, knowing and gripping exploration of a modern family in crisis.

Reviews

Praise for Karen Gillece's novels
*
'Reminiscent of Joanna Trollope ... this book sets Karen Gillece apart from much of the Irish popular fiction norm and confirms her as a force to be reckoned with'
The Irish Times
One of Ireland's finest emerging writers...she has a wonderful way with words and the ability to sum up a character in a sentence'
Irish Examiner
A moving read that will keep you gripped to the very end
RTE Guide
'A compelling read, and a chilling one. Gillece has dared to push boundaries. And the result is simply unforgettable'
Irish Examiner
'Gillece captures the characters skilfully'
The Irish Mail on Sunday
'A page-turner'
Irish Independent
'Queen of emerging Irish writers'
Irish Independent
'Evidence that this is a talented author expanding her range and reach'
Irish Examiner Weekender
'This second novel confirms the promise of Gillece's debut . . . she is no one hit wonder. She is improving with time and for once the publisher's prediction that readers will "anxiously await her next offering" doesn't ring hollow.
Irish Independent
'It is a glorious read, confirming Gillece as a fine literary writer. Gillece has a wonderful way with words, and an ability to sum up a character in a sentence . . . skilful at showing the intricacies of relationships that have gone wrong. I simply adored this novel, and was immersed in it, totally, from the start until the final pages . . . I was intrigued with all her flawed, yet fascinating characters. They stayed in my mind long after I had finished reading.
Books Ireland
Gillece writes vividly, capturing the essence of ordinary lives turned upside down by unavoidable dilemmas...highly impressive and assured writing
Evening Herald
Wonderfully sensitive...rises head and shoulder above most Irish novels of recent years
Irish Independent