Common Decency

Common Decency

A dark, intimate novel of love, grief and obsession


The lives of a bereaved young woman and her neighbour who is consumed by her affair with a married man entwine in this dark, compelling and compassionate coming-of age novel.

'A poignant, deft portrayal of love, obsession and grief' STYLIST

'Susannah Dickey is a phenomenal talent and I loved this novel.' ELIZABETH DAY

'I loved Common Decency . . . such a propulsive joy to read too.' MEGAN NOLAN


In an apartment building in Belfast, two women wrestle with the sorrows and spectres of love and loss.

Since her mother's death, Lily has withdrawn from the world, trapped between grief and anger. She has to break out of this damaging cycle - but how?

Upstairs, Siobhán is consumed by her affair with a married man. Her days revolve around his sporadic texts and rare visits. She barely notices the strange girl who lives below and dawdles in the foyer.

But Lily is keeping a close eye on her neighbour, whose life seems so much better and more fulfilling than her own. When resentment evolves into something darker and more urgent, she decides to teach Siobhán a lesson...

'Sharp as tacks, extremely funny and deeply moving. This novel is very good company.' JAN CARSON


  • Elizabeth Day's Book of the Year
    Daily Mail, Best Books of 2022

About the author

Susannah Dickey

Susannah Dickey is a novelist and poet from Derry. She is the author of four poetry pamphlets: I had some very slight concerns (2017), genuine human values (2018), bloodthirsty for marriage (2020), and Oh! (2022). Her debut collection, ISDAL, will be published by Picador in Autumn 2023. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The TLS, The Poetry Review and The White Review, and her fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Tennis Lessons, was published in July 2020. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Queen's University Belfast and lives in London. Common Decency is her second novel.
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