Stephanie Merritt at The Guardian:
At 13, Sinéad Gleeson began to experience pain in her hip joints: “The bones ground together, literally turning to dust.” Hospital stays became frequent, then rounds of traction, surgery, biopsies, before an eventual diagnosis of monoarticular arthritis, leading to a major operation to fuse the hip joint together with metal plates. Her teenage years were shaped by suffering, by clinical intervention, by the betrayals of her body. At 28, six months to the day after her wedding, she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
But Constellations, Gleeson’s first essay collection, is not a book about illness, though it deserves to take its place among recent literary accounts of physical pain by writers such as Hilary Mantel and Sarah Perry. Rather, it’s a collection of personal, cultural and political reflections from which the fact of living in a body – especially one that requires frequent medical intervention – cannot be separated.