Liz Nugent’s heroine is impossible to like... Yet somehow Nugent’s absorbing, beautifully written tale turns Delia into an interesting, almost sympathetic character. Her childhood is spent on a tiny Irish island, her father is besotted with her. She realises early that she’s very beautiful. Most of her family die in a fire and there follows, among many other reversals, an unwanted pregnancy, loss of money and drug addiction. She ends up living a pretend life in Nice. There’s a death. Nugent has won several awards in her native Ireland. Skin Deep deserves to be her breakthrough in Britain.