Thursday, 9 June 2016

Review - This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place is Maggie O’Farrell’s seventh novel and is the second novel of hers that I’ve read. Going into this novel I had very high hopes and I was really not disappointed in the slightest, it exceeded my expectations and turned out to be one of the best novels I’ve ever read. It was storytelling at its absolute finest, a truly special and beautiful book that I think everyone will absolutely fall in love with. 

In This Must Be the Place we meet Daniel Sullivan, an American linguist who at the start of the book is living in Ireland with his second wife, Claudette, a former film star who is now trying to keep a low profile, and his two young children. For all intents and purposes life is good for the family and Daniel seems happy enough, but one day he hears some news regarding someone he once knew that he simply can’t ignore. So he sets off on a trip to find out more about the news he heard, putting his life with his wife and children in jeopardy. Will their marriage survive? 

Maggie O’Farrell has created a truly exquisite novel with This Must Be the Place that is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Told from not just one but several character’s perspectives and not just a story about the here and now, the novel jumps between the past and present. It also takes us on an unforgettable journey around the world to countries and cities I have only ever imagined. With so much going on in this book you might think that it would be confusing and difficult to follow but I can safely say that this was not the case at all, which to me is a sign of how accomplished and incredible Maggie is as an author. I laughed, I cried but I loved every minute of it!

Everything about this book seemed incredibly believable, nothing seemed false or exaggerated. As the book progressed we saw how each of the characters made mistakes, which is what makes us human, and how each of them handled the mistakes they made in different ways with very different results. Whilst there were some characters who dealt with their mistakes badly and found it difficult to see any hope in the future there were others who bounced back with relative ease. In a way it was very inspirational and led me to question the way in which I deal with life’s ups and downs. 

There was so much I enjoyed about This Must Be the Place, but there’s also so much I don’t want to give away about it to anyone who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to read it. I’m not normally lost for words when finishing a novel and I don’t normally struggle to write reviews but this is one that I struggled with as I was so desperate to do it justice. I really cannot express enough how spectacular this novel is, but believe that it’s only possible to appreciate it if you’ve read it. I thoroughly recommend this book and am incredibly excited to read more written by Maggie in the future.