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Posted June 18, 2013
I devoured this book. O'Farrell writes with such beautiful preci
I devoured this book. O'Farrell writes with such beautiful precision that it's hard to believe the characters not still carrying on their lives somewhere in the world. This is a wonderfully spun story of a family on the verge of falling apart after many years of misunderstandings and betrayals- big and small- and their efforts to come together when their father mysteriously disappears. His leaving was an extraordinary act by a man who had been profoundly ordinary his entire life. It is told with compassion. humor and wonderful insights into the complexity of being a family of adults. Highly recommend!
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Posted December 3, 2013
Instructions For A Heatwave is the sixth novel by British author
Instructions For A Heatwave is the sixth novel by British author, Maggie O’Farrell. On a July Thursday at the height of Britain’s 1976 heatwave, Robert Riordan goes out as usual for the morning paper but doesn’t return. When no trace of him can be found, his wife, Gretta calls her daughter in Gloucester, Monica, who is having a drama of her own. Eventually, Gretta’s son, Michael Francis manages to contact his younger sister, Aoife in New York, and the siblings come together at their family home to decide what is to be done. It is a gathering filled with tensions, as Aoife and Monica have been estranged for years. Not only that, but undercurrents flow as each character is dealing with shameful secrets of their own. While this could make for heavy going, the dialogue between the characters, the family dynamics and some moments of delicious irony provide a comic relief that lifts the story. As O’Farrell skilfully builds her story, the various mysteries, some from more than thirty years ago, unfold over four days. Abortion, dyslexia, divorce, betrayal, adultery, draft dodging, a dead cat, an Irish convent and a deep abiding love all feature. O’Farrell’s characters are interesting and complex; they are larger than life and so very real. Her prose is a joy to experience: the feel of the heatwave is expertly conveyed and the descriptions are wonderfully evocative. “And then, it seemed to Monica, the baby opened her mouth and started to scream and that she did not stop screaming for a long time. ……She screamed if laid flat, even for a moment…….her legs would work up and down, as if she was a toy with a winding mechanism, her face would crumple in on itself and the room would fill with jagged sounds that could have cut you, if you’d stood too close.” and “She cannot read. She cannot do that thing that other people find so artlessly easy: to see arrangements of inked shapes on a page and alchemise them into meaning.” are just two examples. A brilliant read.
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Posted July 31, 2013
I adored this story. The author's subtle portrayals of the characters made me feel as tho I was there growing up with them myself. She truely captured, in beautiful language, the power that only familial love has to rise above the destruction of secrets.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.