book covers - a good enough mother - paperback

A Good Enough Mother

Two women, Tess and Maeve, meet in a Dublin café on a winter afternoon – an encounter that will change both their lives forever. As Tess listens to this stranger’s story, she feels the safety of the life and family she has created begin to come apart at the seams.

The fractured lives of mothers and children are woven together in this multi-layered narrative, reminiscent of the creation of a patchwork quilt.

A Good Enough Mother
, winner of the inaugural European Rapallo Prize for fiction 2023, is already a bestseller in Italy.

A Good Enough Mother: Read more


  • I kept thinking about this secret army of women. All of them – all of us – all over Ireland. Mothers of lost children': A Good Enough Mother stitches together the public and the private to devastating effect. Intimate, tender, terrifying, intricately patterned, and told with Catherine Dunne's characteristic empathy, this is an Irish novel for our times.

    Neil Hegarty
  • With characteristic deftness, courage and compassion, Catherine Dunne constructs an intricate patchwork of woven lives exploring motherhood – and its unspoken losses – in the shadow of sexual violence. Taut and reflective, this dark material leaves a lasting sensation of light, brilliance and hope.

    Mia Gallagher
  • Nobody writes like Catherine Dunne. She is wise, clever, and profoundly compassionate. This is a compelling story exploring and comparing the lives of Irish girls and women over the past seventy years. It’s deep, it’s moving, and it’s full of surprises.

    Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
  • This is a nerve-jangling, urgent, brilliantly-paced novel. I read it quickly - I had to. I had to know what was going to happen, and I had to admire the craft and flair that went into its writing.

    Roddy Doyle
  • Tender and harsh in equal measure, A Good Enough Mother - what an apt title - is an absorbing story of women over generations suffering through and somehow managing their various and variously intricate lives. And what a story it is - 'epic', one might say, except that women are too sensible to conceive of life as an epic venture. So, simply: a marvellous book.

    John Banville
  • Beautifully written, perfectly paced and very, very moving.

    Roddy Doyle In The Beginning
  • Dunne has written a page turner: compelling, edgy, fast paced…

    Irish Times La Metà di Niente
  • It is a triumph of the ordinary. When it comes to an end, you feel you’ve lost your best friend.

    Irish Independent In The Beginning
  • A virtuoso performance from a writer of enormous promise.

    Sunday Telegraph A Name For Himself
  • A Name For Himself highlights the exceptional and unfathomable depths of what we nonchalantly dimiss as the ordinary, the normal, the everyday. In the deft hands of Dunne, the ordinary becomes story-worthy.

    Irish Times A Name For Himself
  • Dunne writes compellingly about obsessive love, showing how apparently normal states of mind can shade into madness.

    The Times A Name For Himself
  • A startling struggle-of-love study…Dunne’s Dublin dialogue is deft, her writing sings.

    She A Name For Himself
  • Elegant, lucid prose…with depth, intelligence and a few surprises.

    Irish Times A Name For Himself
  • The Walled Garden is that great rarity: a flawless novel.

    The Express The Walled Garden
  • A hugely gratifying book; something to feed the spirit again and again.

    Irish Independent The Walled Garden