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Hachette Book Group (AU)
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This Must Be the Place Kindle Edition
|Length: 402 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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About the Author
Maggie OFarrell is the author of several novels, including her debut novel, After Youd Gone, which won a Betty Trask Award; The Distance between US, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; and The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award. She has worked as the deputy literary editor of the London Independent on Sunday.Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, MAGGIE O'FARRELL grew up in Wales and Scotland and now lives in London. She has worked as a waitress, chambermaid, bike messenger, teacher, arts administrator, and journalist in Hong Kong and London, and as the deputy literary editor of The Independent on Sunday. Her debut novel, After You'd Gone (2000), won a Betty Trask Award and was followed by My Lover's Lover (2002), The Distance Between Us (2004), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006), The Hand That First Held Mine (2010), winner of the Costa Novel Award, Instructions for a Heatwave (2013), and, most recently, This Must Be the Place (2016). --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B011IYIEW2
- Publisher : Tinder Press (17 May 2016)
- Language: : English
- File size : 1592 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 402 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 28,441 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The language is evocative but it’s not over-written and the characters are complex yet credible. Some of her descriptions of grief and loss are so powerful, it’s as if you can taste it.
Note that the book isn’t written chronologically, and each chapter explores part of a different character’s story. I enjoyed the structure, but you need to pay attention.
I cannot wait to read the next 15% and read it again in future.
Thank you Maggie O’Farrell for this wonderful book.
This Must Be The Place is the seventh novel by British author, Maggie O’Farrell. Claudette Wells is Daniel Sullivan’s second wife. Even after several years of living together in a remote corner of Donegal, and fathering two children with her, he still finds it hard to believe that this eccentric, occasionally crazy, reclusive and beautiful ex-film star ever agreed to marry him. Later, he will remember this, and wonder what possessed him to put all that at risk. But now, a chance snippet of a radio broadcast, heard on the way to the train, sets him on a path to his past.
Daniel heads off to New York, to his (not at all beloved) father’s 90th birthday party, makes an unplanned detour to California see the son and daughter from whom he has been kept for nine years by a vindictive ex-wife, then detours again to Sussex. What he learns there has such a profound effect on him, it threatens to derail the best thing in his life.
O’Farrell has done it again! This extended family, this cast of characters, they pull the reader in. She draws each of them so well, with all their flaws and foibles, that the reader cannot help but find them appealing, hoping that things will turn out okay for them, laughing with them when they do and shedding a tear or two when they don’t.
The story is told by many different characters: the perspective of some is given numerous times; others share their perceptions only once; conveniently, each chapter is clearly marked with the character and the time period; as well as contributing to the main story, these alternate views give vignettes of other, associated lives; most are conventional first-person or third-person narratives, but there is a second-person one, one with footnotes, a transcript of an interview, and even an auction catalogue with images; the chapter headings are phrases lifted from the text therein, producing a tiny resonance when they are read in context.
O’Farrell’s descriptive prose is wonderfully evocative: “An amount of time later – he isn’t sure exactly how much – Daniel is walking in through the gates of the cemetery. He comes here at least once a day. It gives him an aim, a kind of routine. He makes his way along the gravelled path, letting his eye rest on the hundreds and hundreds of gravestones, watching the way they pull themselves into diagonal columns as he passes, then unpeel themselves, then line up again. An endless process of arrangement and disarrangement” is one example.
“He thinks of his grief over his sister as an entity that is horribly and painfully attached to him, the way a jellyfish might adhere to your skin or a goitre or an abscess. He pictures it as viscid, amorphous, spiked, hideous to behold. He finds it unbelievable that no one else can see it. Don’t mind that, he would say, it’s just my grief. Please ignore it and carry on with what you were saying” is another example.
Fans of O’Farrell’s earlier novels will not be disappointed. Readers new to her work are sure to seek out her backlist. Yet another O’Farrell novel that is an unadulterated pleasure to read.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a shame really as M O'F is a beautiful writer, evoking place and mood, but at least for this book it seems to be at the expense of story and character. This is the only book of hers that I've read and, from reviews, seasoned fans suggest it is out of character, so perhaps worth persevering.
The idea is interesting - tracing the arc of a marriage - but the execution and characterisation don't work for me. It might make a better film or mini series.
I like the way she writes and loved 'the vanishing act of Esme Lennox but found this much harder work. The story line is quite thin and cutting it up and imposing time changes and different narrative voices does not disguise this well enough. Neither Claudette or daniel are intrinsically likeable or, more fatally, believable, characters and I found it difficult to sustain a sufficient level of interest in either of them which means that the outcome of their marriage is a bit of a non-starter as a hook and two of the minor players had interesting tales to be told that were left hanging in the air. We did hear a bit about what happened to Claudette's first partner but there were still inanswered qustions and the middle-aged woman on the road trip with Daniel had a fascinating tale which ccould easily have been expanded upon
overall it just felt that she was trying too hard to make something meaningful and significant out of a very ordinary tale
The writing style takes a little getting used to, as the narrative moves between characters and time periods quite frequently, and in some cases the style of writing changes altogether when this happens. It can be distressing for the reader; just when you get deeply drawn into one character's plight, you are suddenly transported to a completely (seemingly) unrelated person 10 year prior. This isn't a criticism though; each storyline is compelling in its own way, and while you may be briefly frustrated at wanting to know what happens next to character X, you'll quickly find yourself being equally invested in the life of character Y. This is a testament to how deep each of the main characters are, and their tales all ultimately tie together and contribute to the central theme of Daniel and Claudette's marriage.
Maggie O'Farrell's writing style is certainly one of the more unique that I have come across recently. She is very adept at capturing emotion which lets us emphasize with the characters, and giving depth to her whole cast so that even larger-than-life figures like Claudette are completely humanised and endearing, and peripheral characters like Ari have distinct personalities despite relatively little word-count focused on them. More notably though, while O'Farrell employs some 'twists' in the story, they are heavily forecast and sometimes bluntly stated long before they occur, so when they do happen we focus on the characters responding and dealing with them, rather than experiencing the shock impact ourselves. I've noticed this is employed in several of her books, and it's a very effective technique.
This is one of the few books in my adult life I've read more than once, and the story, writing, characters were all just as engaging and heart-wrenching on repeated readings. Cannot recommend enough.