Dolores review: Short and potent story of a young woman in trouble

Lauren Aimee Curtis’s original take on teenage pregnancy makes for a vibrant debut novel

Lauren Aimee Curtis writes intelligently on  themes of sex and religion

Lauren Aimee Curtis writes intelligently on themes of sex and religion

“At 15, Dolores began to visit the love motels on the outskirts of her city. Now, at night inside the convent, when she returns, the different rooms have merged into one.” Blurring the borders past and present, sex and religion, desire and shame, Lauren Aimee Curtis’ debut novel Dolores is a short and potent story of a young woman in trouble.

Though Curtis is Australian, the trouble is of a recognisably Irish nature – a pregnant teenage girl who ends up in a convent. The nuns take her in with the promise of salvation and a new identity that starts with a new name: “When the mother superior says her name, it sounds as though it were travelling down a slide. Do-lor-es.” Details of her new life as a nun-in-training come at the reader, fast and vivid: “The nuns never wash themselves. That’s one of the first things she notices. They have yellow-green gunk in the corners of their eyes, their tongues are brownish-pink, and there are flakes of dead skin on their noses.”

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