In February 1959, Switzerland held a referendum on women’s suffrage. The men voted ‘no’.
In this powerful novella, Clare O’Dea explores that day through the eyes of four very different Swiss women. Vreni is a busy farmer’s wife, longing for a break from family life. Her grown-up daughter Margrit is carving out an independent life in Bern, but finds herself trapped in an alarming situation. Esther, a cleaner, is desperate to recover her son who has been taken into care. Beatrice, a hospital administrator, has been throwing herself into the ‘yes’ campaign. The four women’s paths intersect on a day that will leave its mark on all their lives.
‘Voting Day is a thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly maddening novella that follows four women as they go about their business on the day of that 1959 referendum… Each tale is beautifully told by first time author, Clare O’Dea, who skilfully depicts the character of each woman and spins the connections between them into a compelling, coherent narrative.’ — Mechanics’ Institute Review
‘O’Dea writes of the experiences of her characters with great empathy and compassion as well as with impeccable historical accuracy.’ — Historical Novel Review
‘An uplifting story of hope and solidarity, as well as a vivid, fascinating snapshot of a recent (almost unbelievably recent!) moment in Swiss history. I devoured it in one sitting.’ — Jonathan Coe
‘O’Dea’s storytelling is delicate, tender and insightful. The lives of four Swiss women in the 1950s are opened up to us with care and beauty. A work of fine historical fiction not to be missed.’ — Anne Griffin, author of When All is Said
‘Through deft storytelling skill and narrative imagination, Clare O’Dea’s novella shows how a particular moment in history was experienced through the eyes of real women. Subtly and ingeniously, Voting Day points to the many small and big ways in which womens’ struggle for equality still prevails.’ — Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, author of The Apple Tart of Hope and All The Money In The World
‘Clare O’Dea’s gripping novel is a valuable testament to a moment in history. In a critical yet caring way, the author movingly portrays the fate of four disenfranchised women who are nevertheless striving to take control of their lives.’ — Barbara Traber, Swiss author and translator