After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

At the beginning of this novel we find Alice in a coma and then we are filled in on some of her background and we meet her mother and grandmother and also John, who could possibly be considered her soul mate. We follow their relationship and the difficulties that they have to contend with. It’s a mystery and a love story rolled into one.

Half way through this book I was still trying to relate and connect to the characters; they all seemed a bit remote. I found it quite torturous in places and felt that my brain was doing somersaults to try and keep up, having read that so many people had enjoyed the book and the rave reviews on the back cover I came to the conclusion there’s something wrong with me – lol – Just joking!- it’s just not written in a way that I find easy to follow with all the time changes and quick jumps to different characters, but at the half way stage I still found myself wanting to read it, although occasionally I had the urge to throw it out of the window. I was curious to know what I’d think by the end of the book.

I actually enjoyed the second half of the book much more, although I still didn’t connect with the characters and emotions as some other reviewers seem to, but nevertheless in the end I was glad that I read the book, but didn’t really know what to think at the end of the novel as I felt there was more to say.


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5 Responses to “After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell”

  1. Rose City Reader Says:

    Good review! I came over from LibraryThing after reading your comment about the “niche” for your blog.

    I am particularly interested in your reviews of memoirs — a genre I am increasingly taken with. I’ll stop by again.

  2. Margot Says:

    I am curious to know your opinion. Do you think that Alice lived in the end? In our book club, some of us thought that even though there was a lot of reference to coming up and out, the author never actually states that Alice lives or dies. There is an implication that she is alive.

    Some of us thought that since the man speaking to her ended up being her father-in-law that she ultimately gave up.

    What are your thoughts?

  3. loopyloo100 Says:

    I was completely undecided and I’m afraid I never came to a firm conclusion as I felt that it could be interpreted either way. Which I suppose could be what the author intended, so we all finish the story, in our heads, in the way we wish to see it end.

  4. Julie Says:

    I am glad I am not the only one who was left wondering. I ended up interpreting it that we were supposed to make up our own mind.

  5. Alison Says:

    I have just finished reading this book (over 2 days, couldn’t put it down!) & am interested to read these & other comments about readers’ interpretations of the ending. According to a reader on another site, she has spoken to the author who stated herself that Alice DID come round from the coma 🙂 I must admit I read it that way myself (maybe i’m just an optimist!).. the references to ‘coming up to the surface’ etc (there are several references in the book to her saying she is just below the surface of something etc – ie referring to her coma induced state but obviously being aware of being alive). because of her strong love & grief for her husband,& reference earlier to his dad sounding just like him, I take it that that is what was needed to bring her back – its also something she desperately needs – someone who can understand how she is feeling as none of her direct family can, however well-meaning. AFter everything she has been through, I took this as a positive ending to the book, a promise of life going on with a probable father-in-law/daughter-in law r/ship united in their grief.The reference earlier in the book to her seeming to cheat death and this not be for her (it said she was unsure she wanted to live, but had no choice), and the bubbles from her mouth, i took it to mean sign of life (saliva) after the dryness/death like state she had been in. Also liked the reference to the pearls(going back to the antique shop meeting with her real father). I LOVED this book, best book i’ve read in ages.

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