Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review-Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

I've had a really good run of books lately.  I'm not one to read a book right through because I like to think about it as I go...I enjoy making predictions of how things are going to turn out, or wondering what will happen next.  Maggie O'Farrell writes books that defy predictions and have interesting twists and turns.
I finished The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox a few weeks ago.  The book starts out telling about two girls at a dance, but we don't know who they are, yet.  It then switches to when Esme was young and living in India with her parents, then it shifts to telling about Iris Lockhart, in the present.  The narrative continually shifts between Esme's younger years and the current time of Iris.  There is also a first person narrative going on, but the reader is not explicitly told who the narrator is.  When Iris is informed that her great-aunt Esme, about whom she has heard nothing all her life, is about to be released from a mentall hospital, Iris is very confused.  Her grandmother, Esme's sister, has always said she was an only child.  O'Farrell weaves the story lines together until the amazing denouement.  But wait, there's more....
Interestingly, there are no chapters in this book.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2008-06 - Harvest Books
9780156033671 Check Our Catalog

A "Wall Street Journal "Bestseller A "Washington Post Book World" Best Book of the Year
"I found this actually unputdownable, written with a gripping dramatic insidiousness reminiscent of classic writers like Rebecca West and Daphne Du Maurier." --Ali Smith, author of "The Accidental" Esme Lennox is a dreamy child, an odd, bookish young woman, the kind of girl who stares and listens and won't flirt with boys at dances. And then, in the space of a moment, Esme Lennox is gone. Years later, a stunning phone call breaks the silence at Iris Lockhart's vintage clothing shop: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital after more than sixty years. Iris's grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme's face. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, sure to bring life-altering secrets when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?
"Haunting. O'Farrell is a feminist avenging angel who wields the modern Gothic like a gleaming sword." - "The Boston Globe " "Think Kate Chopin's "The Awakening," Charlotte Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' or Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea" . . . It's a breathtaking, heart-breaking creation . . . In O'Farrell's fierce, engrossing novel, the crimes of the past rear up with surprising vengeance." - "The" "Washington Post Book World" Maggie O'Farrell is the author of three previous novels, including her acclaimed debut, "After You'd Gone." Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh. Visit Discussion guide available at

Other books by the same author.
The Hand That First Held Mine The Hand That First Held Mine
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2010-04 - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
9780547330792 Check Our Catalog 2010 Costa Novel Award Winner

A stunning portrait of motherhood and the artist's life in all their terror and glory, O'Farrell's newest novel is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways in which even the most accidental legacies often connect people. …More

After You'd Gone After You'd Gone
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2002-02 - Penguin Books
9780142000328 Check Our Catalog

Alice Raikes lies in a coma in Scotland after an accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt. With her life hanging in the balance, Alice's family gathers. As they wait, argue, and remember, long-buried tensions rise. Alice, meanwhile, slides between different levels of consciousness, recalling her past and a recent love affair. …More

Read Alikes
Run Run
By Patchett, Ann
2008-08 - Harper Perennial
9780061340642 Check Our Catalog

Set over a period of 24 hours, "Run" shows how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include the most unlikely of people, in this novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths people will go to protect their children. …More

The Still Point The Still Point
By Sackville, Amy
2011-01 - Counterpoint LLC
9781582437095 Check Our Catalog

At the turn of the 20th century, Arctic explorer Edward Mackley sets out to reach the North Pole and vanishes into the icy landscape without a trace. He leaves behind a young wife, Emily, who awaits his return for decades. A hundred years later, Edward's great-grand-niece Julia moves through the old family house, and makes a discovery that splinters her long-held image of Edward and Emily's romance. …More

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