Literary Programme 2017

Eileen Battersby: Teethmarks on My Tongue

Eileen Battersby: Teethmarks on My Tongue

Eileen Battersby

Bantry Library

Wed 19 July 2017



The gunning down of her mother on a Virginia street sets young Helen Stockton Defoe on a journey of self-discovery. A physical feature she had first noticed when she was nine years old has made her feel apart and she has quietly capitalized on the privilege, never mind the aura, which surrounds her. She lives in her head and fills her thoughts – and days – with science, horses and art. The more intently she begins to observe her remote, detached father, the more she learns about her place within the rarefied world she inhabits. Rebellion leads her from America to Europe on a disturbing path dominated by chance and an evolving self-realization.

This unusual coming-of-age novel with its humor and vivid sense of place takes its teenaged narrator on a physical as well as psychological journey towards an astute and hard won maturity.

‘Battersby has brought us a thoroughly original narrator: a pedant and self-proclaimed prig who sweeps the reader along by sheer force of her quirky insights, deadpan humor, and disarming honesty… Battersby offers us an entertaining ride with an extraordinary narrator who is both eagle-eyed onlooker and the main act.’ Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Bold and beautiful… The ending truly floored me.’ Neil Jordan

Born in California, Eileen Battersby is a graduate of University College Dublin. An Irish Times staff arts journalist and literary reviewer, she is a four-time recipient of the National Arts Journalist of the Year award, and was named National Critic of the Year in 2012. Second Readings: From Beckett to Black Beauty was published in 2009 and Ordinary Dogs – a Story of Two Lives was published by Faber in 2011. Teethmarks on My Tongue is her first novel.