Wednesday, October 1, 2008

After You'd Gone: Maggie O'Farrell

The story starts with a bang when our main character, Alice, steps out in front of moving traffic. We know she is a bit confused and maybe unhappy with something that has happened. We don't know why.
The book works both backwards and forwards from this point on granting us access to Alice's history and her present.
All in all, it's a love story. And a good, long, sad one at that. I would say it's a classic tale of love and loss but O'Farrell does a great job of throwing more at you in the story...honestly...
I am STILL grieving for Alice. And maybe even myself just a little bit. What is it about loss, grief, suicide, death, pain...that's so interesting?

I love this book because it's passionate portrayal of love is so accurate. I love this book because it's numbing portrayal of grief following loss is even more accurate.

The book switches perspectives quickly. All in one chapter, you may hear from Alice herself, a 3rd person perspective of Alice, Alice's doctor, her mother, her lover...
What I loved about this:
372 pages moved so very quickly. In most novels that change perspective, the change occurs at the start of the next chapter whereas in this novel, we change from paragraph to paragraph.
It's at once confusing and then again, sort of exciting when you realize who you've moved on to. It also gives you very little reason to put it down at 3:37 am.

I will also say that for some strange reason, this book evokes the same feeling as a really long, hard break-up.
So...know that going in.

And another thing: I am obsessed with English-style writing. That may not be the accurate way to say that...
I am enamored with the wording they use. Somehow calling the bathroom, "the loo," makes it sound somewhat elusive, foreign and nice as opposed to odorous and...hairy.

When I wrote that there is a LONG portrayal of grief. I mean it. I admire it in Maggie O'Farrell's writing style. It's so bizarre. She drags on a depression in the precise way that a true depression drags.

To finish this choppy review of random thoughts...
I love this book. usual, it's sad and unrequited...
But...there is hope. At least this one ended with hope.