Anybody Out There?

( 51 )

Overview

Bestselling author Marian Keyes has delighted readers with the lives, loves, and foibles of the irrepressible Walsh sisters and their eccentric mammy. In this Life in the Big Apple is perfect for Anna. She has the best job in the world, a lovely apartment, and great friends. Then one morning, she wakes up in her mammy's house in Dublin with stitches in her face, a dislocated knee, hands smashed up, and no memory at all of what happened. As soon as she's able, Anna's flying back to Manhattan, mystified but ...

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Overview

Bestselling author Marian Keyes has delighted readers with the lives, loves, and foibles of the irrepressible Walsh sisters and their eccentric mammy. In this Life in the Big Apple is perfect for Anna. She has the best job in the world, a lovely apartment, and great friends. Then one morning, she wakes up in her mammy's house in Dublin with stitches in her face, a dislocated knee, hands smashed up, and no memory at all of what happened. As soon as she's able, Anna's flying back to Manhattan, mystified but determined to find out how her life turned upside down. As her past slowly begins coming back to her, she sets out on an outrageous quest—involving lilies, psychics, mediums, and anyone who can point her in the right direction.

Marrying life's darker bits with wild humor and tender wit, Anybody Out There? is a strange and wonderfully charming look at love here and ever after.

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Editorial Reviews

New York magazine
“Keyes...breathes new life into chick lit...[she] cuts down on the froth but leaves the fun and romance intact.”
New York Magazine
"Keyes...breathes new life into chick lit...[she] cuts down on the froth but leaves the fun and romance intact."
Publishers Weekly
International bestseller Keyes is back with another quirky, heartwarming story of the Walsh sisters (Angels, etc.). Anna Walsh has returned to the bosom of her family in the Dublin suburbs to recuperate from the horrendous car accident that has left her with multiple fractures and a disfiguring scar across her face. Desperate to go back to New York and resume her normal life, she soon packs up her bags and returns to her job in beauty PR for punk cosmetics brand Candy Grrrl. A lonely and debilitated Anna leaves e-mails and phone messages for her mysteriously absent husband, Aidan, pleading for him to reply. Just as the reader is bursting with indignation that the cad hasn't contacted her (a quarter of the way into the novel), we learn that Aidan died in the car accident, and that Anna's missives are her way of dealing with grief. Desperate for contact, Anna tries charlatan psychics, celebrity mediums and contacting-the-dead support groups. Meanwhile, she reminisces about their courtship and marriage while her kooky family (especially her Mum and hyperactive PI sister Helen) tries to buoy her spirits. Keyes's trademark blend of humor, diverse characters and a warm but unsentimental tone strikes gold. (May 9) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Keyes returns to the Walsh family with humor and drama by focusing on fourth sister Anna who is recovering from a tragedy in Dublin under Mammy Walsh's care. Returning to her job in New York as a PR executive for Candy Girrrl cosmetics, Anna has a real desire to reconnect with her now strangely absent husband, Aidan, whether it's through phone calls, the Internet, support groups, psychics, mediums, or other paranormal activities. Keyes finds the right balance of pathos and wit by entwining Anna's plight with emails from mom and Helen in two minor subplots that strain believability but keep the book from turning maudlin as Anna's memory returns. Terry Donnelly provides the characters' dark wit very well. Recommended.-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Keyes's proven formula for success-a chatty, engaging heroine, a bawdy sense of humor, an unhappy turn of events-works again in her eighth novel (The Other Side of the Story, 2004, etc.). Three of the five Irish Walsh girls have novels of their own, and now it's time for Anna's story. The first 100 pages build up a mystery of sorts: Anna lies dazed in the front parlor of her parent's Dublin home as her mother nurses her back to health. On her daily walk, the local schoolboys call her Frankenstein, and for good reason. With deep cuts and bandages on her face, fingers without nails, an arm cast and a limp, Anna has never looked less stylish (except when she wore all those hippie skirts). There are flashbacks to her recent life in New York, where she has The Best Job in the World in cosmetics public relations, and a hunky, adorable husband, Aidan. So what happened to Anna, and where's Aidan in her time of need? Against everyone's pleading, Anna returns to New York, and we learn the tragic truth: Anna and Aidan were in a car accident in which Aidan died. Now, Anna rings his cell phone everyday to hear his voicemail, she e-mails him about work, she wails at night and can't imagine life without him. Over 400 pages of a widow's emotional recovery would be hard-going if not for Keyes's humor and grand cast of characters with their own quirky subplots. Back in Dublin, baby sister Helen, an unlikely private investigator, keeps Anna updated on her current big case-tailing the local crime lords' misses, while Mammy Walsh keeps Anna current on her own little mystery-an old lady regularly brings her dog to poo on the Walsh's doorstep. And now, desperate to find out where Aidan is, Anna startsfrequenting afterlife psychics, which introduces a whole new set of oddballs. Anna begins to crawl out of her sorrow, but Keyes is cautious with the expected happy ending-for all the comedy, she creates a vivid portrait of grief. The very best in chick-lit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061240850
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 320,446
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.

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Read an Excerpt

Anybody Out There?

A Novel
By Marian Keyes

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Marian Keyes
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060731303

Chapter One

Mum flung open the sitting-room door and announced, "Morning, Anna, time for your tablets."

She tried to march briskly, like nurses she'd seen on hospital dramas, but there was so much furniture in the room that instead she had to wrestle her way toward me.

When I'd arrived in Ireland eight weeks earlier, I couldn't climb the stairs, because of my dislocated kneecap, so my parents had moved a bed downstairs into the Good Front Room.

Make no mistake, this was a huge honor: under normal circumstances we were only let into this room at Christmastime. The rest of the year, all familial leisure activities -- television watching, chocolate eating, bickering -- took place in the cramped converted garage, which went by the grand title of Television Room.

But when my bed was installed in the GFR there was nowhere for the other fixtures -- tasseled couches, tasseled armchairs -- to go. The room now looked like a discount furniture store, where millions of couches are squashed in together, so that you almost have to clamber over them like boulders along the seafront.

"Right, missy." Mum consulted a sheet of paper, an hour-by-hour schedule of all my medication -- antibiotics, anti-inflammatories,anti-depressants, sleeping pills, high-impact vitamins, painkillers that -induced a very pleasant floaty feeling, and a member of the Valium family, which she had ferried away to a secret location.

All the different packets and jars stood on a small, elaborately carved table -- several china dogs of unparalleled hideousness had been shifted to make way for them and now sat on the floor looking reproachfully at me -- and Mum began sorting through them, popping out capsules and shaking pills from bottles.

My bed had been thoughtfully placed in the window bay so that I could look out at passing life. Except that I couldn't: there was a net curtain in place that was as immovable as a metal wall. Not physically immovable, you understand, but socially immovable: in Dublin suburbia brazenly lifting your nets to have a good look at "passing life" is a social gaffe akin to painting the front of your house Schiaparelli pink.

Besides, there was no passing life. Except . . . actually, through the gauzy barrier, I'd begun to notice that most days an elderly woman stopped to let her dog wee at our gatepost -- sometimes I thought the dog, a cute black-and-white terrier, didn't even want to wee, but it was looking as if the woman was insisting.

"Okay, missy." Mum had never called me "missy" before all of this. "Take these." She tipped a handful of pills into my mouth and passed me a glass of water. She was very kind really, even if I suspected she was just acting out a part. "Dear Jesus," a voice said. It was my sister Helen, home from a night's work. She stood in the doorway of the sitting room, looked around at all the tassels, and asked, "How can you stand it?"

Helen is the youngest of the five of us and still lives in the parental home, even though she's twenty-nine. But why would she move out, she often asks, when she's got a rent-free gig, cable telly, and a built-in chauffeur (Dad). The food, of course, she admits, is a problem, but there are ways around everything.

"Hi, honey, you're home," Mum said. "How was work?"

After several career changes, Helen -- and I'm not making this up, I wish I was -- is a private investigator. Mind you, it sounds far more -dangerous and exciting than it is; she mostly does white-collar crime and "domestics" -- where she has to get proof of men having affairs. I would find it terribly depressing but she says it doesn't bother her because she's always known that men were total scumbags.

She spends a lot of time sitting in wet hedges with a long-range lens, trying to get photographic evidence of the adulterers leaving their love nest. She could stay in her nice, warm, dry car but then she tends to fall asleep and miss her mark.

"Mum, I'm very stressed," she said, "Any chance of a Valium?"

"No."

"My throat is killing me. War-crime sore. I'm going to bed."

Helen, on account of all the time she spends in damp hedges, gets a lot of sore throats.

"I'll bring you up some ice cream in a minute, pet," Mum said. "Tell me, I'm dying to know, did you get your mark?"

Mum loves Helen's job, nearly more than she loves mine, and that's saying a lot. (Apparently, I have the Best Job in the World.) Occasionally, when Helen is very bored or scared, Mum even goes to work with her; the Case of the Missing Woman comes to mind. Helen had to go to the woman's apartment, looking for clues (air tickets to Rio, etc. As if . . .) and Mum went along because she loves seeing inside other people's houses. She says it's amazing how dirty people's homes are when they're not expecting visitors. This gives her great relief, making it easier to live in her own less-than-pristine crib. However, because her life had begun to resemble, however briefly, a crime drama, Mum got carried away and tried to break down the locked apartment door by running at it with her shoulder -- even though, and I can't stress this enough, Helen had a key. And Mum knew she had it. It had been given to her by the missing woman's sister and all Mum got for her trouble was a badly mashed shoulder.

"It's not like on the telly," she complained afterward, kneading the top of her arm.

Then, earlier this year, someone tried to kill Helen. The general consensus was not so much shock that such a dreadful thing would happen as amazement that it hadn't come to pass much sooner. Of course, it wasn't really an attempt on her life. Someone threw a stone through the television-room window during an episode of EastEnders -- probably just one of the local teenagers expressing his feelings of youthful alienation, but . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes Copyright © 2006 by Marian Keyes. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it.

    I had forgot how much I loved Marian Keyes. I had stopped reading her books about five years ago when I was totally up to date and then forgot about her books so i was delighted when I recently started again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Bittersweet, amusing and powerfully acute, this is a great literary character study.

    In Manhattan public relations specialist for punk cosmetics brand Candy Grrrl, Anna Walsh suffers sever injuries in a taxi accident that include a horrifying disfigurement across her pretty visage. Physically healing though suffering from multiple fractures, Anna mentally struggles especially with the facial scar so she returns home to her loving family in the Dublin area for nurturing.----- Dublin is no picnic as she finds herself embroiled in family affairs that the ocean kept her out of. Private eye sister Helen works with mobsters Rachel is acting crazy with her marriage coming soon and her mom is feuding with a dog pooping at the mailbox. With her husband Aidan not responding to email and seemingly vanished, a despondent Anna wonders if you can really go home that is if you can figure out where home is.----- Highly regarded Marian Keyes (see ANGELS, WATERMELON and RACHEL'S HOLIDAY) returns with her latest and best Walsh tale, which is saying a lot as this is a top rate series. Anna is terrific as the center of the family dynamics this time around. As she becomes involved with the escapades of her sisters and mom, her spouse back in Manhattan becomes a MIA. Bittersweet, amusing and powerfully acute, this is a great literary character study.----- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Joy to Read

    Anybody Out There is an entertaining novel that examines what happens when a person's perfect life is changed in one tragic moment. Marian Keyes has a light, conversational writing style that makes it hard to put the novel down. Her main character, Anna, is extremely likable and is supported by a cast of diverse characters. I especially enjoyed Anna's relationship with her family, a clan of unique individuals who truly love and support each other. Through these characters, Keyes is able to infuse very funny scenes among the sad circumstances in the plot. The plot is fast moving and makes the novel a joy to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2008

    Love, Love, Love this book

    Marian Keyes is one of the best authors I have read in a long time. This is the best book of hers that I have read so far. It's especially compelling because it deals with grief in a manner that makes it seem real to me as a younger person. I would recommend this author and particularly this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    my favorite book, the end

    she hits many points in the spectrum. intense book that includes humour well so that you don't want to shoot yourself after reading it.doesn't hurt that it's nearly impossiblt to stop reading it. If you've read any of her walsh series you'll love this one, the best sofar, though i'm looking forward to the last sister

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    My favorite

    This is probably my favorite book she ever wrote it. This book is truly good. It was funny and sad. I almost cried. Keyes is a wonderful writer. She made Anna feel sooo real to me. IEvery book Keyes wrote is different. Each sisters has their own story and own personality. You must read this book. I read it in 2 days.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    This is On My Top 10 of All Time List

    I really like Marion Keyes books in general, but this is one that I really loved. I actually LIKE many books, but love very few. Anybody Out There? was so touching and poignant and was in my opinion far and away Ms Keyes best work yet. I will reread it for years to come. It is an excellent piece of work. It touched my heart and left it's footprint on it. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2006

    Fantastic!!!

    While I enjoyed Keyes' other books, this one by far evoked the most emotion. At times, I laughed so much that I cried, and at other times, I just cried. What a powerful, heartwarming, incredible book. I cannot describe it any better without giving away the plot. It's a MUST READ!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2006

    Marian Keyes does it again

    WOW - is the only way I can start this. This book is a scream! So funny and yet so heartbreaking. I must say that alot of it mirrored my own life and my own tragedies and therefore it became hard to read and yet I couldn't put it down. Marian Keyes proves that she can write not only comedy but straight from the heart. I don't know Marian's own personal circumstances, but coming from someone who went through something quite similar, I can say that woman knows what she writes. I now can not wait for the next 'Walsh installment' to see how Anna is and what the future holds for her, as anyone who read the book knows, it holds something good....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    Another Fabulous Book

    Ever since i randomly pictured up 'Angels' at my public library, i've been obsessed with marian keyes books. There are so many authors writing about the same subject, women in there 30's looking for love. Keyes is able to create wildly entertaining stories, with fresh humor and insight. I loved this book because i could relate, and Keyes was right on with the reality of Anna's situation. if you liked keyes past books, this one is worth your time

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2006

    Bittersweet love story

    I was truly touched by Anna's story. I liked the way that the author set up the story with ambiguity as to what really happened to Anna. I think Ms. Keyes had the right mix of humor from the supporting characters so that the reader was not overwhelmed with sadness. I was happy with the ending - it provided closure for Anna as well as myself. I look forward to reading more about the Walsh sisters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Read this book years ago and it still gets me

    Fantastic. Keep the kleenex handy though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Catching

    I really felt the heartache and love of the main character. This is an excellent story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Not What I Expected

    I am a Marion Keyes fan and I should know by now that her books are never what you think they're going to be. I always think its going to be fun chick-lit, but then it ends up being some serious story. That was certainly the case with this one. The story starts with Anna recovering from some serious injuries at her parents home in Dublin. The whole time she is anxious to hear from Aidan who she left in New York. We don't find out until later in the story why he doesn't respond. The story turns out to be very sad, but Keyes tells it with her classic style. As with all of her books, you will laugh and cry. Anna is my favorite Keyes character... she feels like your best friend and you will definitely root for her throughout the story.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    It made me laugh and cry, often at the same time. This was easily my favorite book out of all the Walsh Sisters books so far.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    great book

    I couldn't put it down! I love all of her books. this was my favorite. funny and heartwarming-I highly recommend!

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    My favorite of Marian keyes

    I really enjoyed this book. I love all the sisters, but Anna was one of my favorites! It was very touching and sad, with a LOT of laughs!! Great writer!!!

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Sad at Best, Tedious and Boring at Worst

    First of all, I started this book without realizing that it is actually the 4th in a series involving these Walsh sisters. This always annoys me and although I don't think this was a situation where I missed something by not reading the first three, it did deter from my overall reading enjoyment. Now, I very much went into this book with eyes wide open; I assumed it was chick lit-y and as such, was not expecting to be bowled over with literary magnificence. But even so, with managed expectations, this story was really grating on my nerves and although there were definitely times when I was choked up and my stomach was in knots, there were MORE times when I was like "OH MY GOD WAKE UP AND GET ON WITH IT!" Now, there are several points when the story takes an unforeseen turn and I'd be lying if I said those points didn't really hold my interest (ie, when she figures out what happens to her husband, secret part to husband's life is revealed, etc.) But these story benders are few and far between and you have to trudge through pages and pages of trite dialogue and predictable narrative to get to them which, like I said, did a number on my nerves. In any case, if you've read the first three by this author and liked them, then have at this book. You'll like it. But if you're just perusing for some light reading, find something else. This is book is very forgettable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2008

    Lucky Find

    Working out of a hotel in Finland for two weeks, alone, not speaking (or reading) Finnish, and looking for something to while away my evenings, I found this book in the hotel store. It's a lovely, heart-wrenching, and funny read. One of those stories that I find myself thinking about even a year later. Lucky to have come across this author and have added her to my favorites list.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    I loved this book. It has really stayed wih me. One of those that, although sometimes heart breaking, you don't want to end. Although the book could be very sad, you also suddenly find yourself laughing out loud. I have read all the books by this author and always enjoy them.

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