Tuesday, 24 May 2016

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell
Published: 17th May 2016
Publisher: Tinder Press
Pages: 483
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

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 shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

This Must Be The Place is Maggie O’Farrell seventh book but is actually my first. I know, where have I been! What drew me to this book initially was that at its core it’s a book about a marriage, simple right, but oh no it’s so much more than that.
Daniel Sullivan is a linguistics professor born in New York, who has been living in Ireland with his current wife Claudette, a reclusive ex-film star and their two children Marithe and Calvin. He also has two other children he hasn’t seen in ten years Niall and Phoebe who live in California with their mother.
At the beginning of the book Daniel is about to return to Brooklyn for his father’s 90th birthday when he catches the end of a radio show playing an interview from a woman he knew twenty years ago. Filled with confusion and remorse Daniel embarks on a journey to find out what happened to the woman he once knew so well and in doing so he sets off a chain of events which will cause him to self-destruct and shatter his marriage with Claudette. Can Daniel pull himself back from the brink and fix everything that is broken.
The first thing that struck me about this novel is it has a very simple plotline but with Maggie O’Farrell’s marvellous writing skill it has becomes a complex and enthralling look at human character and how split decisions and misunderstandings can take us on a completely different course. Most of the novel is told from Daniels perspective in the first person as he takes us back in time to when he first met Claudette, when he knew his mystery woman through to the present where he rekindles his relationship with the children from his former marriage. Throughout the novel Daniels chapters are mixed with those from other characters which all vary in writing style and give more information about Daniels character and those around him. My favourite of these chapters was actually the extract from the auction house catalogue showing Claudette’s possessions, I thought this was a genius way of telling the story of Claudette’s film years.
This Must be The Place is a novel which skips around in both time frame and location. We are taken from 1986 up to 2016 but not in that order. As for location we are taken all over the world: London, New York, California, India, China, Bolivia, Paris and of course Ireland, where Danial and Claudette live in remotest Donegal. This does take some following and initially it did feel like a number a different short stories but eventually you can work out how they all fit together and why they’ve been included. If you’re not a fan of novels that do this then this book may not be for you, but I simply adored it for its genius.
Daniel was a tricky character for me to like or dislike. Some things he did I thought he was downright selfish and should think more of others, especially his children. But other times he seemed really caring as he just wanted to make everything alright.
Claudette was definitely my favourite character, I just adored her over the top quirkiness. My favourite scene with her had to at the beginning where she is walking round the perimeter of her garden wearing an oversized raincoat and pointing a gun at any passers-by. If this doesn’t make you think what on earth is going on with her and desperate to find out more I’m not sure what will. I loved her strong character and if she decided she wasn’t doing something then she could not be persuaded otherwise.
This Must Be The Place was a fantastic read and all I can really say is go and read this book for yourself and enjoy the superb writing of Maggie O’Farrell.
Thank you so much for the publishers for sending me a copy to review, you have found a new fan of Maggie O’Farrell . I give This Must Be The Place 5 out of 5 stars and think it’s definitely one of the must reads of 2016.

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