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Maggie O'Farrell's groundbreaking debut: a stunning, best-selling story of wrenching love and grief
Maggie O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland in 1972, and grew up in South Wales and North Bewick. After studying English Literature at Cambridge, and travelling in the Far East and Mongolia, she moved to London, where she worked at the Poetry Society and as a journalist. AFTER YOU'D GONE is her first novel.
It is hard to believe that such an assured work comes from a first novelist. Starting in London with a young woman stepping off a curb in front of an oncoming car, O'Farrell gradually lays bare the harrowing realization that prompted the suicide attempt. On one level, this is a love story; on another it is an intergenerational tale of three women (grandmother Elspeth, mother Ann, and Alice, the victim). But to describe it as such sounds platitudinous, which it is definitely not. With smooth prose, O'Farrell moves seamlessly among the victim's family and friends and back and forth in time in seemingly random fashion, slowly revealing her characters' pasts and stunningly bringing the story back to the present. Despite its premise, this is not a depressing book. Published originally in the UK to good reviews, it should appeal to fans of Mary Gordon and Margaret Atwood, though it will draw a more popular audience than the latter.DFrancine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
'The first proper novel I've read in an age. It is beautifully yet accessibly written and deals with the subject of grief in such an astute, touching and real way that I was on the verge of tears for most of the book' Lisa Jewell -- Daily Mail After You'd Gone was no.10 in the Sunday Express bestseller list After You'd Gone was chosen by Fi Glover as her favourite read in the Mail On Sunday 23/9 -- Mail on Sunday 20010923 'Rarely have I been forced to give up my life so entirely to dedicate myself to a book. And I felt the strands of the story tied together beautifully, so that as well as being funny, rich and harrowing, it ws also a deeply satisfying read' Esther Freud -- You Magazine 20010805 'This fantastic novel... The characters and story will really touch your emotions' -- Best 20011218 'This weepy... Is guaranteed to leave you out of Kleenex... Your life stands still as you turn the pages. An amazing study of grief as it poses the wrenching question: What do you do with all the love you have for someone when they're gone?' Glamour 20011218 'A memorable debut' Daily Telegraph 20011218 'Maggie O'Farrell keeps the reader guessing right up to the end in this engrossing psychological mystery... the characterisation is excellent and the dialogue immaculate' Sunday Telegraph 20011218 'an engrossing study of loss and family ties, delivered with the page-turning pace of a thriller' Independent on Sunday 20011218 'Details of Alice's childhood in North Berwick, its landscape and the well-observed objects that texture everyday life are convincingly done... cleverly constructed plot and great ending' Observer 20011218 'A story of passion and romance, of lost opportunity and chance happenings, of happiness and grief. This combination of love story and mystery is a moving and powerful debut and a sign of great things to come' Sunday Mirror 20011218 'Intriguing and mysterious novel' Express 20011218 'A contemporary and unflinching look at passion and attachment' Independent 20011218 'AFTER YOU'D GONE may be Maggie O'Farrell's first novel, but it shows a maturity that more experienced writers would mortgage their typewriters for... O'Farrell possesses a fine eye for the absurdities of human behaviour, which lightens, but does not diminish the tragedy that pervades this compassionate and engrossing book' Glasgow List 20011218 'A compellling and beautifully crafted tragedy about the past getting in the way of the present' Nottingham Evening Post 20011218 'This weepy, now out in paperback, is guaranteed to leave you out of Kleenex... your life stands still as you turn the pages. An amazing study of love and grief as it poses the wrenching question: What do you do with all the love you have for someone when they're gone?' -- Glamour 'A memorable debut' -- Daily Telegraph 'Maggie O'Farrell keeps the reader guessing right up to the end in this engrossing psychological mystery... the characterisation is excellent and the dialogue immaculate' -- Sunday Telegraph 'an engrossing study of loss and family ties, delivered with the page-turning pace of a thriller' -- Independent on Sunday
Like a pointillist painting, this fine debut is, from one perspective, formlessÄshort vignettes, told from multiple points of view and in multiple voices, that are somewhat puzzling on their own and apparently have no connection to each other. Ultimately, however, these elements merge into a coherent and moving portrait of a young woman's journey toward a life-threatening crisis. In London, one cold day in late fall, Alice Raikes impulsively boards a train home to Scotland. Shortly after joining her two sisters in the Edinburgh train station, she sees something "odd and unexpected and sickening" in the station's restroom that causes her immediately to flee back to London. Later that evening, while walking to the grocery store, Alice broods over what she has seen, then abruptly steps into oncoming traffic. As she lies comatose in her hospital bed, a swirl of voices and images gradually reveals her pastÄher parents, especially her mother, Ann; her beloved grandmother, Elspeth; her two sisters, so unlike her, both physically and temperamentally; and John Friedman, whom she loved and lostÄand hints at her precarious future. The unnamed spectacle of the opening washroom scene resurfaces in Alice's semiconscious haze, and its eventual elucidation comes as less of a shock than a confirmation of all we have learned about her tumultuous existence. Sharply observed details of everyday life and language, original and telling figures of speech and deftly handled plot twists reach a moving climax, while subtly raising the question of whether the objects of Alice's affectionÄand the sources of her agonyÄwere worth enduring. Foreign rights sold in seven countries. (Mar. 19) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.