Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for Alice

Cover of "After You'd Gone"
Cover of After You'd Gone
My blog today is dedicated to Alice, the main character in Maggie O'Farrell's debut novel, After You'd Gone. For me, this is still the best novel that Maggie has written but I think that's more to do with the time and place I was at in my life when I read it than a reflection on the quality of her later novels, particularly The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and The Hand That First Held Mine

I was in my late twenties when After You'd Gone was published and had recently got married so the story really resonated with me. As well as the narrative of Alice meeting, falling in love with and marrying, John, there is another storyline that tells of her difficult relationship with her mother and John's with his father. In essence, this is a story about love - both passionate love and family love - and the power it has to transform, but also to destroy, lives. And how easy it can be to love someone but hate them for their awful behaviour at the same time. 


In honour of the impact that Alice's story had on my life (I have re-read it many, many times), for the first A-Z blog of 2013 I wrote a slightly bastardised limerick about her (spoiler alert - only read if you know the story or don't intend to read it!).



There was a very sad woman called Alice,
Whose life had been ruined through malice
She’d met and married the lovely John
But thanks to terrorist bombs he was gone
And she found it hard to see how she could carry on
Enhanced by Zemanta

16 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this book. I'll have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had to let my eyes flit over the limerick for the time being, Amanda, as you've totally enticed me into reading this book first! I was listening to an interview with Maggie O'Farrell on OpenBook a few weeks ago and she came across as a really nice person. I shall make a note to come back and read the limerick! Good luck with the rest of the A to Z Challenge :) x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for stopping by, Jess and Catherine. And yes, I cannot recommend this book enough. Be warned though...it will most definitely make you cry. I got to the really sad bit when I was on the bus coming home from work and started sobbing! The man sat next to me looked really scared :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I've not heard of this book, but am interested!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm intrigued...My A day is also about Alice, but a different one:))

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd not heard of this either, but thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You've inspired me to check out this book! Nice limerick too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Going to have to check this book out! Thanks for the tip.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post Amanda. I am loving the theme you have come up with for April. There a lot of books on the list that I haven't read and I'll be intrigued to find out more. My to be read pile is already huge but I can never resist finding even more great books to add to it. I'll definitely be adding After You'd Gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alana. My TBR pile is also huge - so many books so little time!

      Delete
  10. This does sound like my kind of book. I'm adding it to my list of 'must reads'. Thanks for sharing, Amanda. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts through the month.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just stopping by to say 'hi' in the a-z. Have never read this book. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sharon, you're welcome. And thanks for the blog award - it's on my list of blogs to write once the challenge is over :)

      Delete
  12. I hope Alice's story doesn't mimic yours. Sounds like a sad tale.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce, it is a very sad tale but also with a vein of hope running through it. Luckily mine doesn't mimic it and the John I married is still with me! :)

      Delete
  13. Hi Amanda .. Alice's story certainly resonated with you - thanks for sharing the book ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete