A feminist retelling of favourite Irish fairytale The Children of Lir.
Aífe marries Lir, a chieftain with four children by his previous wife. Jealous of his affection for his children, the witch Aífe turns them into swans for 900 years.
Retold through the voice of Aífe, Savage Her Reply is unsettling and dark, yet nuanced in its exploration of the guilt of a complex character.
Deirdre Sullivan is an award-winning writer from Galway in the West of Ireland. She has written more than ten acclaimed works of fiction, and is Ireland's most acclaimed YA author. Savage Her Reply is her tenth book. On initial publication in Europe, Savage Her Reply won the Young Adult Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, the Children’s Book Ireland Awards Book of the Year Award, and the Biennial Literacy Association of Ireland Young Adult Book Award. Her collection of dark and witchy fairytale retellings, Tangleweed and Brine (Little Island Books), won Book of the Year at the 2018 Children’s Books Ireland awards and Young Adult Book of the Year at the 2017 Irish Book Awards.
Deirdre also writes short fiction and poetry, which has been published in places like Banshee, The Penny Dreadful, Mslexia and the Dublin Review. Her play Wake was performed by No Ropes theatre company in February 2019.
Karen Vaughan is a designer and illustrator with a particular love for pen and ink. Her illustrations and cover for Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan (Little Island, 2017) were widely acclaimed; The Guardian called them "sharp, intricate, Beardsleyesque illustrations".
Included in Kirkus Reviews: Best Young Adult Books of the Year 2023
'Through masterful storytelling and stunning prose, Sullivan turns an ancient legend into something complex, transforming a one-note character into a nuanced narrator who carefully weaves Irish legend with a subtly searing condemnation of patriarchal society.' Kirkus starred review
'Ferocious and illuminating, this retelling of a classic Irish tale is steeped in folklore and revitalized with feminist nuances. Calligrams that “mimic the characters [of] Ogham” come between its chapters, whispering lessons from Aife’s broken and rebuilt state ... Sister, daughter, wife, villain, savior: a complicated queen takes her legacy back in the stunning novel Savage Her Reply.' – Foreword Reviews
‘This dark, beautiful retelling of the Irish tale “The Children of Lir”, filled with transformed swans, air demons, betrayal and forgiveness, is saturated with the power of Sullivan’s lyrical prose.’
‘Deirdre Sullivan’s Savage Her Reply breathes new life into the Irish legend of the Children of Lir.’
‘Unsettling, haunting, and darkly lyrical, Savage Her Reply is a beautiful thing.’
Asking for It
‘No-one else writes like Deirdre Sullivan. She is lyrical, poetic and thoroughly intoxicating.’
Juno Dawson, author of Her Majesty's Royal Coven
'This book was such a refreshing book ... I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something different and something that is not what you think. The author of this book did a wonderful job in making sure Aife was a complex character and that to me is what brought this book to life.' – NetGalley Reviewer
'Deirdre Sullivan has a great writing style and it left me wanting to read more from the author.' – NetGalley Reviewer
'A lush, searing, deeply personal story about how the wounds we take on in childhood shape the rest of our lives and those of everyone around us. Heartbreaking, haunting, and unapologetically feminist, this book is an exploration of what if means to be human, so beautifully-written that it ceases to be a retelling and becomes a myth itself.' – NetGalley Reviewer
'Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan is a captivating retelling of the Children of Lir myth. Through its focus on the character of Aoife, rich prose, and thought-provoking themes, it offers a fresh and enchanting perspective on this classic story, making it a must-read for both mythology enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Sullivan's innovative approach breathes new life into the age-old tale, making it a memorable literary experience.' – NetGalley Librarian
'Savage Her Reply is gorgeously told. This book feels like a piece of art rather than a novel. I enjoyed the prose style of writing and it was a welcome break from my typical reads. I recommend Savage Her Reply to all readers!' – NetGalley Reviewer
'It is dark and weird and cool.' – NetGalley Reviewer
'This book really just took me for a ride. I loved the build up, the character development, and the writing. I would definitely read more from this author!' – NetGalley Reviewer