After You’d Gone – Maggie O’Farrell

As I loved The Hand That First Held Mine (read about that here), I had to read more of her work. I wasn’t disappointed.

Here is the blurb …

“When Alice Raike’s sisters come to pick her up at the train station, they find her wild-eyed, confused, and insistent on returning to London that very minute. Only a few hours later, they receive terrible news – Alice is lying in a coma after an accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt. While her life hangs in the balance, Alice’s family gathers at her bedside. As they wait, argue, and remember, long-buried tensions rise to the surface. Alice, meanwhile, sliding between different levels of consciousness, recalls her past and the end of a tragic love affair…

This is classic O’Farrell – different narrative view points, jumping around in time and suspense (exactly what did Alice see in the bathroom?) I can’t write about the plot without giving the story away, I’ll just say that the Raikes family has issues, but by O’Farrell switching viewpoints we have sympathy for all of the characters (even, I’m surprised to say, Alice’s mother Ann). O’Farrell’s ability to write the inner thoughts and motivations of her characters is uncanny. There is no black and white, good or bad, just many shades of grey. Your sympathies alter with the narrative – I was constantly revising my opinion about Ann. If you like character driven novels, then you will enjoy O’Farrell’s novels.

More reviews …


Leave a Comment

Filed under Recommended

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *