Title: After You’d Gone
Author: Maggie O’Farrell
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary Pages: 372
First published: 2000
Edition: Paperback, published by Review in 2001
Alice Raikes takes a train from London to Scotland to visit her family, but when she gets there she witnesses something so shocking that she insists on returning to London immediately. A few hours later, Alice is lying in a coma after an accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt.
This is a pretty marvelously written novel. It is one of those books that starts off almost at the end and over the span of the pages we find out what went before and in the case of this novel, that was very well done.
However, there were a few story elements that seemed a bit unneccesary looking back and I wonder what their purpose was. I found that a little frustrating in the end. I also had to get used to the fact that the story not only jumps about in the timeline and POVs, but also first and third person narration. I found this a little jarring at times, but I do think it worked in this particular story. The main protagonist is Alice, but we also get plenty of storyline from her mother’s POV and fragments of others, which made the story just bit more fleshed out. We really delve into their emotions, but it never gets too soppy.
I really liked the author’s pshychological storytelling and her multidimensional characters. but although I really enjoyed it and cried over it, I do wonder how memorable the book is. This is a good book for sure, but it did not quite blow my mind.
If he synopsis grabs you, do read it, because I can pretty much guarantee you will like it. I will definitely be reading more books by this author.
5 out of 7