Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review-Instructions for a Heatwave





Long time readers of my reviews may, perhaps, remember that one of my favorite authors is Maggie O'Farrell. She wrote The Hand that First Held Mine  and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.  She has a new book out, Instructions for a Heatwave, which I've been looking forward to reading.
O'Farrell's books look at relationships between parents and children or between siblings, so it is no surprise that her latest involves a family.  Gretta and Bob Riordan have three grown children, Michael Francis, Monica, and Aoife.  Gretta and Bob are Irish, but met and fell in love in England, and have raised their children near London.  One day,during the 1976 heatwave, Bob tells Gretta he is going out for a paper, but doesn't return.  After a while, Gretta starts to wonder about his disappearance and calls Monica and Michael Francis (Aoife is in New York City and not easy to get in touch with.)  Gretta has a history of blowing things out of proportion, so Michaal Francis and Monica try to blow her off, but eventually realize that something serious is going on.  Of course, they have their own troubles as well, Michael Francis is having marital problems and Monica is finding it hard to fit into life as a step parent in the country.  Michael Francis is able to find Aoife (who is having some life issues of her own), so all three return home to help their mother.  Everyone has their own secret that they are keeping from the others, but until they can work through these they aren't able to solve the mystery of their dad's disappearence.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, although the big plot twist was not as shocking as the twists in her previous books.  The characters were well drawn and the sibling interactions felt right.  If this had been the first Maggie O'Farrell book I'd read it would have been great, but I was expecting something a bit more from it.  Still and all, a good book.

Instructions for a Heatwave
Instructions for a Heatwave
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2013-06 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780385349406 Check Our Catalog

A sweeping family drama set in London during the summer of 1976. The disappearance of a family patriarch forces three adult siblings to gather together to find him and to confront what they really know about their father and themselves. …More


Other books by the same author.
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 www.HarcourtBooks.com/EsmeLennox. Discussion guide available at www.HarcourtBooks.com.
…More


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


My Lover's Lover
My Lover's Lover
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2004-08 - Penguin Books
9780142004616 Check Our Catalog

…More


The Distance Between Us
The Distance Between Us
By O'Farrell, Maggie
2004-01 - Review
9780755302659 Check Our Catalog

…More


Complimentary Reads
Someone
Someone
By McDermott, Alice
2013-09 - Farrar Straus Giroux
9780374281090 Check Our Catalog

A fully realized portrait of one woman's life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author. …More


Fin & Lady
Fin & Lady
By Schine, Cathleen
2013-07 - Sarah Crichton Books
9780374154905 Check Our Catalog

From the author of "The Three Weissmanns of Westport," a wise, clever story of New York in the '60s. …More


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