An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Best-selling author Maggie O'Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls "her breakout book." Perfect for readers of Where'd You Go, Bernadette .Read more...
An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Best-selling author Maggie O'Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls "her breakout book." Perfect for readers of Where'd You Go, Bernadette.Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse. But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children, and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back? "O'Farrell's prose manages to be both intimate and expansive and keenly perceptive in its insights about the complexities of marriage. Beautiful and bittersweet, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE will make O'Farrell's longtime fans swoon while prompting new readers to wonder why they've only just discovered her."
--BookPage "I have been a huge fan of Maggie O'Farrell's novels for years. She writes with tremendous clarity and poise and in THIS MUST BE THE PLACE you are invested in what happens to Daniel and Claudette from the moment you meet them. A joy to read."
--Jane Green "Inventive, moving, and hilarious. I loved it."
--Rachel Joyce, best-selling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-06
- Reviewer: Staff
O'Farrell (The Vainishing Act of Esme Lennox) spins a magical story in her new novel. On the surface, the story is about the unlikely meeting of Daniel, an American, and Claudette, a French-English former actress; the life they make together; the lives they lived before that. and their struggle to hold things together in the face of a secret from Daniel's past. But this description, though accurate, doesn't convey the depth of perception and detail. O'Farrell offers not just backstory, but surround-story, using first-, second- and third-person points of view to depict Daniel and Claudette's children, Daniel's mother, Claudette's brother and his wife, an ex-lover or two, a former friend, a bewildered assistant, and a woman Daniel meets by chance in the Bolivian high plains (who has her own story of betrayal). Across the present and the recent and more distant pasts, in Donegal, Ireland; Brooklyn; London; Sussex, England; and points south and east, relationships start, end, and last. There is enough possibility and randomness for three books, yet the story never feels overstuffed, and when it ends, the reader is stunned and grateful, relieved that in the face of all that can go (and have gone) wrong, some things have come right. (July)
The complex web of a life's relationships
With seven books to her credit, based on the law of averages alone you might think that Irish author Maggie O’Farrell would be due to deliver a dud. On the contrary: Her latest novel proves that practice really does make perfect. This Must Be the Place may be her best work to date.
O’Farrell returns to the topics that have become her literary bread and butter over the years: love, loss and the things that make—and break—a family. Daniel Sullivan has more than a passing familiarity with all three of these things. We first meet Daniel in 2015, living with his two young children and his reclusive wife on a remote patch of land in Ireland. However, as subsequent chapters jump between past and present, as well as other characters’ perspectives, the complex web of relationships and choices that have brought Daniel to this place and continue to shape his life are slowly illuminated. The result is an intricate and emotional jigsaw puzzle whose pieces interlock in immensely satisfying—and startling—ways.
Nimbly bounding though time and space, the narrative unfolds with a cinematic quality, and O’Farrell’s prose manages to be both intimate and expansive in its tone and keenly perceptive in its insights on the complexities of marriage. Beautiful and bittersweet, This Must Be the Place will make O’Farrell’s longtime fans swoon while prompting new readers to wonder why they’ve only just discovered her.