Anybody Out There?

Anybody Out There?

by Marian Keyes


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061240850
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 933,750
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

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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Anybody Out There?

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 floorlooking 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?"


"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 . . .

Anybody Out There?. Copyright © by Marian Keyes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Anybody Out There? 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Moll More than 1 year ago
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.
jessJD More than 1 year ago
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.
Marsha98 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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....
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Indygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Husband dies in a car accident while she tries to get on with life. Her family is so funny! She can't accept her husband is gone. Leaves him messages on his cell phone, emails...she is sure he is trying to reach her in some way. There is a twist at the end. One of the best books I've every read! Love the her sisters, and Mum!
shanyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well. I was really in the mood for a lighthearted chick lit book when I started this one, which was a huge mistake. Marian Keyes is talked about in any sort of chick lit conversation, and I had not read one of her books, so it was time... I picked this one at the library because the little synopsis I read inside the cover said she was in Public Relations, which I think is a fun career to read about. Little did I know I would be nearly in tears the entire book because of the way the events played out.After the "worst" part of the book, I expected it to at least pick up a bit for a somewhat happy ending. It WAS happy... at least happier than the beginning, but still not enough to lift my spirits. If I had been in a different mood when I began the book, it's likely I would have enjoyed it (it was well written), but it just did not fit my mood at all. Some of my PaperBackSwap friends have told me I should read Sushi for Beginners next, so that will be the next Keyes I try.
LynleyS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the hands of a lesser writer this plot would have been in danger of turning into sap. Fortunately, Marian Keyes has a keen wit, another flawed but loveable protagonist and carries the whole thing off. I'm not the teary type but this book hit the note it was meant to.I would've left the bit about the butterfly out, though. That was stretching my tolerance for sentimentality just a little too far. I thought Keyes did a good job of appealing to readers who don't believe in ghosts and stuff like that, and if she'd left that bit off then I would've been happier with the realism of the novel.Like many other super successful novelists, I'd say of Keyes that she could do with a more ruthless editor. Part two dragged for me, whereas parts one and three were tight and engaging and succinct. I wasn't a huge fan of the spy-sister subplot, but it was still worth it for the wonderful character sketch of the semi-crazy Irish mother. I think I know a local version of that woman!I wasn't especially interested in all the details about make-up - this is chick lit but no need to rub it in!I'm still a Keyes fan. I'd give it five stars if it didn't drag a bit in the middle. Highly recommended for young women muddling through their child-bearing years. I'm sure this book struck a few chords.
inesmrios on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I couldn't put it down and I felt the need to recommended to everyone ( I gave a copy to my sister). I'm not sure what I liked best, the fact that the Walshes were reminiscent of my family specially the mom or that I felt like Ana was having an intimate conversation with me and sharing her journey as she reconstructed her life. I loved it!!!!
lma0311 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, and then went back to read the other books about the other sisters in the family.
risadabomb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Not your typical love story but very poignant and touching. It was very real and at times made laugh and cry.
Norabee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s Anna¿s Turn in the Spotlight!!Marian Keyes is a powerhouse ¿ to me, she's a combination of Maeve Binchy mixed with a little Sophie Kinsella but clearly a phenomenal talent in her own right. I think I enjoyed this Walsh sister book better than the others (while, like everyone else, patiently waiting for Helen¿s book) it was funny, sad, long, but in a good way ¿ there was no skimming or counting pages with this read ¿ enjoyable, I¿m glad I saved it because there are not many books as good as the ones that Keyes pens and I¿m so glad she recognized her talent and is doing what she¿s supposed to be doing in this life ¿ Well Done ¿ Bravo, yet again to Marian Keyes!In this tale, Anna is in her early thirties, married and a victim of a tragic car accident. The story opens with her convalescing at her parents¿ home in Ireland. There have been many reviews of this book and I don¿t want to spoil it, so I won¿t go into too many details ¿ if you read the product description and other reviews, then you already know what the book is basically about. There is an interesting twist mid-way into the book that will keep you reading. This was a really good read ¿ highly recommended!
labelleaurore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh what a book to read... I got this book on a vacation in 2006, in the middle of nowhere'land, that somebody had left behind and up until two months ago, it was collecting dust on the top shelf. I was just about to pack all my books and move again when this Anybody out there? cried out to be read. 4 days later and endless nights to read as much as I could, I could not put it away. What a great story and marian Keyes has a way to write the way it is, no softening of the edges here. A story that has grabed my heart and my soul.
elbakerone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes begins with an amnesia plot in which Anna Walsh - one of the Walsh sisters whose adventures are chronicled in other books by Keyes - awakens in her family's home in Ireland with scattered pieces of her life in place. Rather than a cliche novel focused on Anna regaining her memory, a sentimental story unfolds as Anna must move back to New York and put her life back together piece by piece.This is the third book I've read by Keyes and so far it is my favorite. The writing was emotional without being overly sappy and the secondary characters peppered the plot with humor and kept a lighthearted tone to a serious story. Technically, this is the fourth entry in Keyes's series about the Walsh sisters, but it is also an excellent stand-alone novel.
scribeswindow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down and didn't see 'it' coming. I think it was more my state of mind at the time, but it felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach. Cried and cried. But can't be described as a maudlin book. Excellent, one of her best.
BigNess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the second Marian Keyes book I read, and I loved it. I just click with Marian's sense of humour, not sure how it would be classified, but it suits me. I don't want to talk much about the book itself for fear of giving away too much of the wonderful story line, but I loved it and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys some light chick lit that also has a surprising depth and empathy at the other side.
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel like I should have liked this book, but I just didn't. The subject was a downer--a woman wakes up with a bunch of injuries and no memory of what happened. And the jacket described the cute things and quirky people that were supposed to help her search for her husband. But it just missed with me. I was driving back from some errands yesterday with the book on the seat of the car with 180 pages unread and just decided to stop, pay my fine and let the library have it back.
tls1215 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite of Marian Keyes' books, and I've read them all
kathybyrd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS!!!!!!I want to read all of them now.