Review 1463: This Must Be the Place

Daniel Sullivan is about to leave Ireland for a business trip when he catches a segment of a radio broadcast more than 20 years old. He hears the voice of Nicola Janks, his old girlfriend. When he learns she died in 1986, the year he last saw her, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her, fearing he was responsible for her death.

Unfortunately, he is unable to explain this concern to his wife, Claudette. Instead, she hears from his family about his erratic behavior. He is supposed to visit his 90-year-old father in Brooklyn but stays only a few minutes before abruptly leaving to visit his children from his first marriage.

These are the first events in a series that will change his life. But O’Farrell is interested in more than these events. In chapters ranging back and forth over 30 years and switching point of view among the characters, she tells about the lives of many of them, of Claudette, the reclusive ex-movie star; of Daniel; of Daniel’s children and Claudette’s children; of Daniel’s mother; even of some of the novel’s secondary characters.

I came late to O’Farrell and so far have only read two books by her, but I’ve enjoyed them immensely. She catches you with her complex plots but keeps you with her characterizations.

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4 thoughts on “Review 1463: This Must Be the Place

  1. Davida Chazan January 25, 2020 / 7:07 am

    She’s one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read everything she’s written. Plus… I just got the ARC for her upcoming novel, Hamnet – she’s breaking into historical, biographical fiction with this one! I can hardly wait.

    • whatmeread January 25, 2020 / 9:24 am

      I have just recently started reading her. I don’t know how I missed her!

      • Davida Chazan January 25, 2020 / 11:18 am

        Well, my favorite of hers is “The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox” but her non-fiction memoir “I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death” is blow you away heartbreaking!

      • whatmeread January 25, 2020 / 2:26 pm

        I just read that a week or so ago but have not yet reviewed it. Excellent!

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