Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just read The Hand That First Held Mine

Someone recently asked me who my favorite contemporary novelist was, and I blurted out, "Maggie O'Farrell" without thinking. There are so many others I could have named, writers who have written life-changing books. But Maggie O'Farrell is special. Each of her books is beautifully crafted, with subtle twists and delicious climaxes, with characters that linger long after placing the book back on the shelf.

I'd been waiting to read The Hand That First Held Mine - it's been on the shelf for a couple of months because I have to be ready to swim inside an O'Farrell novel. She does something to my subconscious that mutes the line between fiction and reality. I've been feeling a bit crap this week (I blame the 10K) and have done little creative writing, thus perfect timing.

The two main plot lines, set in 1950s and present-day London, are expertly intertwined to create a story of love, loss, strength, memory, and heartbreak. O'Farrell gently weaves the past into the most minute of objects, leaving the reader desperate to know the history of the everyday objects gracing our own lives. The characters are perfectly flawed, multi-dimensional enough to resonate. It's as good as any other O'Farrell novel, which places it on the highest of shelves; this writer is top-notch. Recommended, and if possible, dive into all of her other books, too.

No comments: