How to begin to write a review that is as elegant and precise as the amazing Maggie O'Farrell's incredible book This Must be the Place.
Although I have of course heard of Maggie O'Farrell, this is shockingly my first read from Maggie. There was just something about this one that peaked my interest and made me decide it was time I added it to my list of books read.
Despite being a little deterred by the size of this book, I surprised myself my getting into this really quickly. Maggie's writing just instantly took hold of me and it became a book that I couldn't wait to get back to reading when I had finished the working day.
The book starts with our central character Daniel Sullivan, an American and linguistics professor living in Ireland with his wife and children. This is just the tip of the iceberg though as once you get past that first chapter we are opened up to a whole host of eclectic characters from the past present and future. I loved that sense of not knowing who and where and what time period each chapter would bring. Would we be introduced to a new character, or would we find out more about a character in a different stage of their life.
I don't think I have ever quite got to know characters in a book quite as much as in this one. Maggie brings each character that we meet to life in a way that you feel that these people are you friends and almost family. Each of them has their own flaws and whilst reading, you see how the decisions they once made have an impact later on in their lives. I keenly felt how each of them were trying to find their place in the world and I was utterly enraptured by each of their stories and how they all interlinked with one another.
I have never known a novel to switch back and forth between timelines, characters and even prose quite as effortlessly as Maggie does. This is sometimes the sort of thing that puts readers off, but it has always been something that I love in novels as I feel that you really get to the nitty gritty of all the characters and the story.
My first Maggie O'Farrell read I can honestly say I was blown away. I can see why Maggie is such an esteemed author and writer and I must read her others.