When you live somewhere bustling with a big circle of - if not exactly friends - acquaintances with whom you are on the same wavelength, you will always stay up to date with the current book to buy, movie to watch, play to see and CD to listen to. If they don't pass it on then there are always papers like the London Evening Standard or one of the weekend supplements to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. When you are in the countryside and not even the countryside where people speak a language in which you are totally fluent, then you are bound to fall behind with what everyone else realises is really worth delving into right now. Of course there is the good old internet with all this information to hand, but there is nothing like a 'round the water cooler' chat to keep one in the loop.
So, just as I've developed love of The Killers way past everyone else, I've only just found out about a writer who everyone reading this is bound to say what, you've never heard of her till now and then feel very knowing in an urban type of way. I've just read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O' Farrell and, in that cliché kind of way that is so true, I just could not put it down until I had finished it. It has its faults, it's not perfect literature by any means but I tell you what, I thought it was wonderful. In fact I keep thinking about two of the characters in it - Iris and Esme - some 24 hours after getting to the bottom of the last page. They became as real to me as people I know and I wish I knew what happened to them after the book finished.
I guessed what was going to happen about two-thirds of the way into it, but it still did not lessen the impact when the 'reveal' did take place. I gather it is her fourth book and if anyone reading this has read any of her others please leave me a comment on whether it is as good as Esme.