Thursday, January 22, 2009

As usual I'm behind everyone else

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.

25 comments:

Lane said...

I loved this book too. After You'd Gone had great reviews and I remember I enjoyed it but can't remember a thing about it. Might look it out again. My Lover's Lover? Hmmm. Esme Lennox is definitely the best by far:-)

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I read this one after buying it second hand a month or so ago - I loved it, and it was different to After You'd Gone and My Lover's Lover - but I would not have bought it, had I not enjoyed the author in the first place. Esme has stuck in my mind more, though, if you know what I mean. So glad you enjoyed it, I felt there were a number of threads in there which kept you turning the pages, eager to find out what happens to the characters...

willow said...

I'm usually behind everyone else, not because I don't know what's "hot", but because it takes forever for me to read or watch it. :P

Lucy Fishwife said...

Every time a new book by Maggie O'Farrell comes out it's as though I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the last one - the jackets are a bit foofy and chick-litty and I'm subconsciously put off - but I love them so much I can't imagine why!

Sally's Chateau said...

It's wonderful to be gripped by a book like that isn't it ? I've only read the one by Maggie O'Farrell but I'll look out for this one.

Carol and Chris said...

Ok....I have know about The Killers for years but have never heard of Maggie O'Farrell (Does that make you feel a bit better?). The book sounds really good....Oooohh I feel a purchase coming on!!!

C x

Henry the Dog said...

Well mum says that she's behind too. (Why am I not surprised?) Mum says she's embarrassed to say that she hadn't even HEARD of the author, until now. (Mum looks kind of sheepish) Then again, as I said before, mum isn't the brightest bulb, but she's a fast learner and whilst she'd been following the blogs with me she's learnt so much and discovered so many new things. She can even do joined up writing now!

French Fancy said...

Lane - I'm glad you enjoyed it too. After You'd Gone is the first one I think - I might order it tomorrow, depending on further input.

WONI - Poor Esme;I must admit to crying quite a bit towards the end. One of my course books of last year was the Elaine Showalter factual book about women and madness and O'Farrell gave it a mention on the last page, as her main reference book.

willow - I've never read a book as quickly as this one. When it comes to fiction I'm slow as anything - the speed with which I read this astounded me. It just flowed and I had to read it until the last page, without any interruptions(well, apart from dogs and cooking).

Lucy - which of hers do you like the best?

Sally - which one did you read?

Carol - I'd heard of The Killers but I didn't know their music would be so much softer than their name. I knew they were an Indie band slightly punky and I didn't think they would appeal - oh, but they so do.

Henry - I'd not heard of this author either until a friend I made through the OU last year (wave to Carrie) recommended this book.

nikkicrumpet said...

Well you are cutting edge on this one..because I've never heard of her. Of course if there isn't a serial killer or a secret government plot...then I'm not gonna read it anyway lol. Hope you have a marvelous day!

Veggie Carrie said...

Although behind on some things, perhaps you are ahead on all things French?

I must be behind too.. I've never heard of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox although the author's name sounds vaguely familiar. I know of The Killers, but am confused by the lyric "Are we human or are we dancer?"

French Fancy said...

nikki - you know what you like, eh? :) You've got no more room for books anyway

Hiya Veggie Carrie - it's such a lovely book that I can guarantee you'd be riveted. As for that 'are we dancer' - It drives Mr FF mad. I had the song as an ear worm the other day and he begged me to stop after a while. There are endless sites out there talking about 'but what did Brandon Flowers really mean by human?'

French Fancy said...

p.s. change the word human to 'dancer' :)

cheshire wife said...

You are not alone. I am always behind with everything. (I shall be late for my own funeral!) I am the world's slowest reader and I have not heard of Maggie Farrell but will look out for her in future.

Completely Alienne said...

I am always behind with everything too. According to my teenagers, it is because I am sad and old - what else do I expect at my age?

Thank you for you recent visit and comment - funnily enough I always wanted a twin sister when I was small (as opposed to the two younger sisters my unfeeling parents inflicted upon me) - an OU anxiety twin sounds perfect. I have a feeling I am going to need one.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, FF! An award is waiting for you at my place :)

Mama said...

You're the second person to mention tis book to me, I told my sister that it would take at least six months to get through the pile of books sitting on my coffee table and I could not possibly take on another book, but now I am intrigued and will have to investigate this further, sounds really good and there was me thinking I was an up-to-date kind of gal :0(

LadyFi said...

Oooh - book tips! Brilliant! I've never heard of this book but it sounds like something I ought to put on my wish list.

French Fancy said...

cheshire wife - I'm behind with things since I've been in France but never late when meeting people or having to go to some sort of appointment. In fact I'm one of those annoying people that is early to do anything that has a time to it. I bet you'd love this book btw.

CA - with two teenage daughters you probably hear of the latest fads and crazes before any of us. An OU course in Political Philosophy would not be for me at all - you must have some brains there.

Cont. Troub - on my way :)

Mama - I have never just sat and read a book from cover to cover before in such a short space of time. I just could not leave it until I knew what was going to happen to our eponymous heroine. It is a fabulous book and I recommend it without hesitation.

LadyFi - I so envy people who can read a book in English when it is not their first language. I have a few paperbacks in French that I've made a half-hearted attempt at reading but one misses the nuances and undercurrents, one is just trying to follow the language.

Brother Tobias said...

I'm not sure if I've read anything by her or not. Finding out is a problem, because all my books are now two deep - you have to lift out the front row to see what's behind. Sounds familiar (but am I thinking of John O'Farrell?). Anyway, 'Vanishing Act' sounds like a hot tip; many thanks!

French Fancy said...

That two deep thing is so aggravating. Actually I'm reading another very good book about a character - Julius Winsome (and that's its title) - who has over 3,000 books.

I'd recommend Vanishing Act as being an excellent read.

Jennysmith said...

sorry, FF, system has been down. I can't believe how much you miss it these days. Like your phone being cut off.

At least you've got an excuse,FF, I haven't read hardly anything and i am well in "the loop" (on a very small scale). Isn't that the book about one of her ancestors being committed to an asylum? For just being outspoken and "bold". Or am i barking up the wrong tree?

don't be afraid to say so if i am. having a really thick day today.

As for pop music, i'm still liking Alice Cooper and Pilot, so you're far more advanced than me!
xxxx

A Woman Of No Importance said...

FF, you cried at the end? I cried for all those women in very similar situations - Sectioned and institutionalized because they became pregnant while unmarried - Another scandal! I could not have read the non-fiction book, you are braver than moi, Fancy Francaise!

Mama said...

My NEW book will be here on Monday, what can I say I'm a book addict, Happy Weekend to you and Mr FF, we are off to the snow again, more book reading for me.

Cynthia said...

I suppose I'm out of the loop,too. I live in a kind of isolation because of being in a Spanish speaking culture. I recently got hooked up to the world at home (TV and Internet)but for at least a decade, I connected by hit and miss. I used the time to develop other more introspective abilities. I studied a lot. And learned/improve some languages-French, Spanish, Old English. I have to constantly use Spanish so that stays alive in my brain. French however is a weak link. (Don't even ask about the residue of Old English!)Do you speak French in your daily life?

Meredith Teagarden said...

I tracked with your taste in music, so I will happily look for this author. I guess I am out of the loop too!

Thanks for your comments at my place!