This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell

I finished this book 5 days ago and have been thinking about it ever since. It’s the story of New Yorker Daniel and his wife (a reclusive former film star) Claudette who live in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. He discovers something about a woman he lost touch with 20 years ago that sends him spiralling off on a quest to discover the truth about the past, without realising what he’s doing to his marriage and his family. The story is good but it is the way it is told that really stands out. It jumps around time from the 1940s to the present day, introducing new characters out of nowhere, layering stories and lives on top of each other. I’m not a great fan of jumping timelines – just as you’re getting into the story you get thrown somewhere completely different. And that’s just what happens about 50 pages in. But stick with it because it works and it’s very skilfully done.  It is also beautifully written. At times it’s almost like a collection of short stories but with one central thread – the relationship Daniel and Claudette – two flawed people who have a lot of baggage to deal with. It’s about relationships, the secrets that people carry with them, family, and the stresses and strains of life that shape them all. Somehow the layering of all these different stories make the 2 central characters seem all the more real – you see them from so many different angles, through the eyes of so many different people. This Must Be The Place has been nominated for the Costa best novel of the year – I can see why.

One thought on “This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell

  1. Another wonderful recommendation from you! Loved it. Almost feel like reading it again. Thanks for great suggestions.

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