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Maggie O'Farrell is the author of seven novels, AFTER YOU'D GONE, MY LOVER'S LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE. She lives in Edinburgh.
Glorious, simply and beautifully glorious! Inspired by Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, this is the imagined story behind the writing of Hamlet, which was written between 1599 and 1601. Hamnet and Hamlet were apparently “entirely interchangeable in Stratford records in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries”. Maggie O’Farrell says she wanted to write this story for over thirty years. “What did it mean for a father to name a tragic hero after his ( ) son. What was this unusual act telling us?” The cover design is beautiful, it called to me. On opening, I slipped into and fell in love with this tale. Hamnet has an almost otherworldly feel, and yet is as earthy and believable as can be. Two time frames sit side by side, Hamnet becoming ill in 1596, and then the earlier story of Shakespeare and Agnes meeting and falling in love. The descriptions became clear bright images in my mind. I could feel the words, they echoed deep inside me, creating pools of emotion. I cried on finishing, all the feelings that Hamnet created slipped out of me and trickled down my cheeks. I adore Hamnet, it now sits on my list of favourite books, and will be one that I reread each year. Chosen as a Book of the Month, LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month.
Award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell returns with her latest breathtaking novel. This Must Be The Place is a story about journeys, it’s about discovering who you are and where you’re meant to be. Daniel Sullivan is leaving on a journey, he is leaving his shotgun-toting, recluse of a wife and his two young children behind in Ireland as he flies to America to celebrate his estranged father’s birthday. Yet anyone can be easily thrown off course, especially when the past creeps in and misty, murky memories begin to haunt Daniel. After so many years it is now time to face his past but just what will it cost him? Will life ever be the same and will he ever be able to return home to Ireland? I can’t remember exactly when I first discovered the writing of Maggie O’Farrell, I do however remember the book. The Hand That First Held Mine. It was by no means her first novel but for me it was the discovery of something very special. O’Farrell’s writing is exquisite. Her characters are brought to life through her wonderful prose and you can feel their living, breathing presence as you read. Her stories will haunt you and in some small, subtle way you’ll never be quite the same again. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Fiction Award 2016. Costa judges' comment: “An utterly involving read, both funny and heartbreaking – technically dazzling, but never losing its human touch.”
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Fiction Award 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. Award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell returns with her latest breathtaking novel. This Must Be The Place is a story about journeys, it’s about discovering who you are and where you’re meant to be. Daniel Sullivan is leaving on a journey, he is leaving his shotgun-toting, recluse of a wife and his two young children behind in Ireland as he flies to America to celebrate his estranged father’s birthday. Yet anyone can be easily thrown off course, especially when the past creeps in and misty, murky memories begin to haunt Daniel. After so many years it is now time to face his past but just what will it cost him? Will life ever be the same and will he ever be able to return home to Ireland? I can’t remember exactly when I first discovered the writing of Maggie O’Farrell, I do however remember the book. The Hand That First Held Mine. It was by no means her first novel but for me it was the discovery of something very special. O’Farrell’s writing is exquisite. Her characters are brought to life through her wonderful prose and you can feel their living, breathing presence as you read. Her stories will haunt you and in some small, subtle way you’ll never be quite the same again. Costa judges' comment: “An utterly involving read, both funny and heartbreaking – technically dazzling, but never losing its human touch.”
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2013. The stunning new novel from Costa-Novel-Award-winning novelist Maggie O'Farrell: a portrait of an Irish family in crisis in the legendary heatwave of 1976. Maggie O'Farrell's sixth book is the work of an outstanding novelist at the height of her powers.
It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. February 2011 MEGA Book of the Month. Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2010. Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment: "A powerful story full of dynamic characters, crafted with panache and lyricism." A gorgeously written story of love and motherhood, this is a tour de force from one of our best loved novelists. May 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.The fifth book from the award-winning author of After You’d Gone is another delight, weaving together the stories of two women who have never met but whose destinies are linked by secrets, deception and love. Maggie’s skill is to draw the reader into her characters’ lives, while gradually revealing the relationship that binds them. A compelling portrait of motherhood. July 2010 Guest Editor Louise Candlish on Maggie O'Farrell... O’Farrell is an author I’ve come to quite late and have therefore read in the wrong order. This is her newest and most stylish; the writing is spun gold. I love the character of Lexie Sinclair: the way she approaches motherhood, the way she runs her career, the way she treats her men. It’s terribly sad, too, and made me cry.
Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2010.Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment: "A powerful story full of dynamic characters, crafted with panache and lyricism." Shortlisted for the Galaxy UK Author of the Year 2010. Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 20 May 2010. May 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.The fifth book from the award-winning author of After You’d Gone is another delight, weaving together the stories of two women who have never met but whose destinies are linked by secrets, deception and love. Maggie’s skill is to draw the reader into her characters’ lives, while gradually revealing the relationship that binds them. A compelling portrait of motherhood. July 2010 Guest Editor Louise Candlish on Maggie O'Farrell... O’Farrell is an author I’ve come to quite late and have therefore read in the wrong order. This is her newest and most stylish; the writing is spun gold. I love the character of Lexie Sinclair: the way she approaches motherhood, the way she runs her career, the way she treats her men. It’s terribly sad, too, and made me cry.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. Esme was a woman edited out of her family's history, and when, sixty years later, she is released from care, a young woman, Iris, discovers the great aunt she never knew she had. The mystery that unfolds is the heartbreaking tale of two sisters in colonial India and 1930s Edinburgh - of the loneliness that binds them together and the rivalries that drive them apart, and lead one of them to a shocking betrayal - but above all it is the story of Esme, a fiercely intelligent, unconventional young woman, and of the terrible price she is made to pay for her family's unhappiness ...
Have you ever woken up suddenly, in the middle of the night, without knowing why? Best-selling and award-winning master storyteller Maggie O'Farrell weaves an extraordinary and compelling modern fairy tale about the bravery of a little girl and the miracle of a snowy day. Sylvie wakes one night, suddenly, without knowing why. Then she sees the most spectacular sight - a pair of wings, enormous in size, made of the softest snow-white feathers imaginable. An angel in her bedroom ... a SNOW angel! He tells her that he is here to look after her, for Sylvie is not as well as she seems... Many months later, as Sylvie recovers from her illness, she longs to see her snow angel again. He saved her life! There is so much she wants to tell him, so much she wants to know! Will he ever come back to her? And how can Sylvie make sure that everyone she loves has their own snow angel, to keep them safe, too?
WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times 'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART. On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.
Von Anfang an bestimmt der Tod ihr Leben: als Maggie O'Farrell im Alter von 8 Jahren beinah an einer unbekannten Virusinfektion starb. Als sie mit 15 aus Ubermut und Freiheitsdrang einen torichten Fehler beging. Als sie in der Idylle des Lake District eine zutiefst verstorende Begegnung hatte. Oder als sie in einer unterbesetzten Klinik mit inkompetentem Personal bei der Geburt ihrer ersten Tochter fast gestorben ware. An den unterschiedlichsten Orten, zu unterschiedlichen Zeiten lenkte der Tod Maggie O'Farrells Leben. Ihre tiefgrundige, auergewohnliche Geschichte stellt existenzielle Fragen: Wie wurde ich handeln, wenn ich in todliche Gefahr geriete? Was stunde fur mich auf dem Spiel? Und, nicht zuletzt, wer wurde ich danach sein?"e;Ich bin, ich bin, ich bin"e; ist ein Buch, das man mit einem neuen Gefhl der Verletzlichkeit aus der Hand legt, mit dem Gefhl, dass jeder neue Herzschlag zhlt.
AS FEATURED ON BIG SCOTTISH BOOK CLUB AND THE ZOE BALL BOOKCLUB, A BOOK OF THE YEAR IN THE SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, GUARDIAN, IRISH TIMES, OBSERVER, RED and THE TELEGRAPH. *SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN ACKERLEY PRIZE FOR MEMOIR AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY 2018* I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference - the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman's life in near-death experiences. Insightful, inspirational, gorgeously written, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life's fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count. A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Timesbestselling author Maggie O'Farrell. It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?
"e;I Am I Am I Amis a gripping and glorious investigation of death that leaves the reader feeling breathless, grateful, and fully alive. Maggie O'Farrell is a miracle in every sense. I will never forget this book."e;Ann PatchettAn extraordinary memoirtold entirely in near-death experiencesfrom one of Britain's best-selling novelists, for fans of Wild, When Breath Becomes Air, and The Year of Magical Thinking.We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O'Farrell's astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter--for whom this book was written--from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life's myriad dangers.Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O'Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD. SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG READER AWARDS. SHORTLISTED FOR THE SALTIRE SOCIETY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR. SHORTLISTED FOR THE BGE IRISH BOOK AWARDS NOVEL OF THE YEAR. A top-ten bestseller, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE by Maggie O'Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. 'A complex, riveting novel of love and hope that grips at the heart' The Sunday Times A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her family, and what made her walk out of her cinematic career when she had the whole world at her feet? Her husband Daniel, reeling from a discovery about a woman he last saw twenty years ago, is about to make an exit of his own. It is a journey that will send him off-course, far away from the life he and Claudette have made together. Will their love for one another be enough to bring Daniel back home?
Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O'Farrell's beguiling novelsAfter You'd Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennoxblend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976. Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta's three grown children converge on their parents' home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret. Maggie O'Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our livesthe secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City's Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O'Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are.
Winner of the 2010 Costa Novel Award, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE is a gorgeously written story of love and motherhood, a tour de force from one of our best loved novelists. When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life for herself, with Innes at her side. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.
Lexie Sinclair yearns for more than her parents' genteel country life. She makes her way to the city, where she meets a magazine editor, Innes, a man unlike any she has ever imagined. He introduces her to the thrilling world of bohemian postwar London, and Lexie learns to become a reporter, to know art and artists, to live fully, unconventionally, and with deep love. And when she finds herself pregnant by a man wholly unsuitable for marriage or fatherhood, she doesn't hesitate a minute to have the baby on her own. Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood after a traumatic birth. Her boyfriend, Ted, shaken by nearly losing her in labor, begins to recover lost memories from his own obscured childhood. As the memory flashes return with ever more disconcerting frequency, we discover a heartbreaking and beautiful revelation that connects these two women and their stories. A stunning portrait of motherhood and the artist's life in all their terror and glory, Maggie O'Farrell's newest novel is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us.
Iris Lockhart is busy tending to the everyday business of her vintage clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend's attempts at commitment when she receives a stunning phone call. Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never even knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital-where she has been locked away for over sixty years. Iris' 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. Esme has been labeled harmless, sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But Esme is still a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit? Weaving Esme's tragic story together with Iris' modern dilemmas, O'Farrell's gothic, intricate, cross-generational tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the complex longings of women will haunt listeners long past its final page.
Gripping, insightful and deft, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Maggie O'Farrell is a haunting story of the way our families shape our lives, from the award-winning author of HAMNET. It was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller and won the Somerset Maugham Award. On a cold February afternoon, Stella catches sight of a man she hasn't seen for many years, but instantly recognises. Or thinks she does. At the same moment on the other side of the globe, in the middle of a crowd of Chinese New Year revellers, Jake realises that things are becoming dangerous. They know nothing of one another's existence, but both Stella and Jake flee their lives: Jake in search of a place so remote it doesn't appear on any map, and Stella for a destination in Scotland, the significance of which only her sister, Nina, will understand.
From the author of HAMNET and I AM, I AM, I AM comes the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller MY LOVER'S LOVER, an intense, unnerving and passionate story of betrayal, loss and love, with all the frisson and psychological intensity of Rebecca. When Lily moves into Marcus's flat and plunges headlong into a relationship, she must contend not merely with the disapproval of flatmate Aidan, but with a more intangible, hostile presence. Could it be that Sinead, Marcus's ex, is trying to communicate with her? When Lily begins to 'see' Sinead, first about the flat, and then on the streets of London, she must question not merely her sanity, but whether the man she loves is someone she can, or indeed ought, to live with at all.
AFTER YOU'D GONE is the groundbreaking debut novel from the Costa-Award winning Maggie O'Farrell, author of HAMNET and I AM, I AM, I AM. It is a stunning, best-selling novel of wrenching love and grief. A distraught young woman boards a train at King's Cross to return to her family in Scotland. Six hours later, she catches sight of something so terrible in a mirror at Waverley Station that she gets on the next train back to London. AFTER YOU'D GONE follows Alice's mental journey through her own past, after a traffic accident has left her in a coma. A love story that is also a story of absence, and of how our choices can reverberate through the generations, it slowly draws us closer to a dark secret at a family's heart.