Posts Tagged ‘multiple narrators’

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell

Posted in Proofs on May 22nd, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment



Maggie O’Farrell is not one to sit on her laurels nor is she one of those authors who stick to tried and tested formulas because they worked in the past. Open a new Maggie O’Farrell and you will only be assured of one thing, this lady can write beautifully and engagingly but she’s full of surprises.

One of my all-time favourite songs is This Must Be the Place, that absolute gem of a love song by Talking Heads with searingly simple lyrics,
“Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home and,
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead”

It’s about love and finding home with another person and maybe it’s right in front of you and you can’t see it. I don’t even know if this novel has any connection with David Byrne’s lyrics but Maggie O’Farrell’s prose just reaches inside my chest and reproduces the same heartrending effect.

Daniel O’Sullivan is an expert linguist, working with language every day, but he just can’t find the right words to communicate his feelings to those he loves. The author takes us on a journey across oceans and through the experiences of many different characters before Daniel reaches any kind of conclusion…if he ever does! If you don’t have the energy or inclination to focus on multiple characters and time frames then this might not be for you. The narrative requires quite a bit of focus and concentration but if you get on board you’ll have the ride of your life!

A few years ago, I introduced my book group members to Maggie O’Farrell’s writing. Suffice to say, they’re chomping at the bit to get their teeth into this one. Highly recommended.

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The Adoption – Anne Berry

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Proofs on January 28th, 2013 by admin – 2 Comments

The Adoption


Ebury Press


Source – Amazon Vine

My Rating – 4.5 stars

The Adoption is Anne Berry’s third novel but this is my first encounter with this writer. Having devoured this compelling read, I am keen to acquire her earlier novels.

The story is told from the viewpoints of three very different women. The first, Bethan, a teenage girl living on a farm in Wales during WWII, falls pregnant with the child of a German POW and is forced to give up her baby girl, Lucilla. Her baby is adopted by Harriet, an older, conservative woman who is disappointed when Lucilla doesn’t fulfil her ideal image of the perfect daughter. We also hear from Lucilla, now married with her own family but it is obvious that the mystery surrounding her real parents leaves an aching hole in her life.

Usually, with multiple narrators, I find myself more drawn to one of the characters but here, each character’s story drew me in equally. Anne Berry is very adept at weaving all the strands of the story, building up the background in such a way that you see the motivation of each character, the birth mother, the adoptive mother and the adoptee.

The female characters are particularly well drawn and their strength contrasts sharply with the more slimy male characters especially Lucilla’s odious, obsequious cousin, Frank and that supposed pillar of society, her father Merfyn. Somehow Lucilla manages to bounce back and forge her own way in life, on the surface a strong, independent woman.

Anne Berry eschews oversentimentality in this beautifully written novel about identity, family ties, motherhood and relationships. Highly recommended.

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