Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell.

Hardback: 338 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Headline Tinder Press 2013
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences:The heat, the heat. It wakes Gretta just after dawn, propelling her from the bed down the stairs. 
Review Quote:'Here is an author whose depth and insight hover just below the surface of an apparently effortless lightness...There is a deliciousness to this novel, a warmth and readability that render it unputdownable and will surely make it a hit. She's done it again' Joanne Briscoe, Guardian
My Opinion:  Brilliant personal insight of a family in crisis.

I was already looking forward to reading 'Instructions for a Heatwave', as I closed the pages to 'The Hand That First Held Mine' so seeing it on the returns trolley on a recent visit to the local library gave me the opportunity to read it straight away. It was with some trepidation though that I started reading as her writing had a lot to live up to after her last novel. No worries, as this proved to be a brilliant personal insight of a family in crisis, written by a talented lady who seems to be going from strength to strength.

An evocative setting, especially for those of us that lived through it. With her wonderful descriptive prose Maggie O'Farrell brings the heatwave of the summer of 1976 vividly alive on the printed page. The novel centres on one Irish family in London that summer that find themselves with a strange crisis on their hands when one member of the family goes out to buy a paper but never returns! When Gretta realises that her husband Robert is not coming home she expects the family to rally round and help her solve the mystery. The family reunion is not an easy one as the siblings Michael, Monica and Aiofe all have secrets, as does their mother. It is not just the stifling heat that makes them uncomfortable with each other! Set over just four days during that incredible summer we get to know the 'Riordan's' family history as they face this situation together.

Now established as a favourite author of mine I highly recommend this latest novel to those that enjoy well written contemporary fiction. It will have added interest to those of you that remember the summer of 1976.

Maggie O'Farrell talks about 'Instructions for a Heatwave'.

Author Profile

Maggie O’Farrell was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1972, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh with her family. An author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future. To date she has had six novels published and it is possible to identify several common themes in them.  The relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters. 

The biographical information photo and video used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

 Maggie O'Farrell - Official WebsiteGoodreads Profile - Maggie O'FarrellMaggie O'Farrell - Facebook Page

Maggie O'Farrell - Talks about Instructions for a Heatwave - YouTube


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