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Instructions for a Heatwave Téléchargement – Audio MP3, 28 février 2013
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The stunning new novel from Costa-Novel-Award-winning novelist Maggie O'Farrell: a portrait of an Irish family in crisis in the legendary heatwave of 1976.
It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.
Maggie O'Farrell's sixth book is the work of an outstanding novelist at the height of her powers.
(P)2013 Headline Digital
Description du produit
Biographie de l'auteur
Détails sur le produit
- Éditeur : Tinder Press; Unabridged édition (28 février 2013)
- Langue : Anglais
- ISBN-10 : 0755398599
- ISBN-13 : 978-0755398591
- Commentaires client :
À propos de l'auteur
Meilleures évaluations de France
Un problème s'est produit lors du filtrage des commentaires. Veuillez réessayer ultérieurement.
J'avais lu et adoré les trois premiers romans de Maggie O'Farrell ("After You'd Gone", "My Lover's Lover" et "The Distance Between Us"); avec le recul, je ne sais plus bien pourquoi j'ai cessé de suivre cette auteure. Mais après avoir découvert Stewart O'Nan cet été, je suis frappée par les similitudes de leur style: cette façon de rentrer dans la tête de gens proches les uns des autres pour décortiquer leurs rapports, cette sensibilité dans la façon de décrire le quotidien, cet art de tenir le lecteur en haleine des centaines de pages durant sans qu'il se passe grand-chose. La spécificité de Maggie O'Farrell, c'est que ses personnages protègent généralement un secret ou cherchent à en découvrir un, ce qui les isole et les tourmente. "Instructions for a Heatwave" ne fait pas exception à la règle. Si son thème familial m'a moins touchée que ceux des précédents romans de l'auteure, j'ai retrouvé avec beaucoup de plaisir la belle écriture intimiste de Maggie O'Farrell.
This is one of the best books I have read recently. It is very well written, full of wit, humour and tenderness.
One of the few books I would want to keep forever
Maggie O'Farrel a eu des très bonnes idées, a voulu aborder différents thèmes mais l'ensemble ne va pas.
Quant au titre : Instructions for a heat wave, why instructions ???
Une vague de chaleur frappe Londres pendant le printemps et l’été 1976, Robert Riordan, retraité, va chercher son journal comme chaque jour. Mais, ce jour-là, il ne rentre pas à la maison, il disparait sans un mot. Gretta, sa femme finit par s’inquiéter et appelle ses enfants à l’aide.
C’est la réunion de ces trois-là autour de leur mère qui est intéressante. Ils vont devoir laisser leurs problèmes entre parenthèses un moment pour aider Gretta. Ils mettront un moment à se retrouver, se redécouvrir pour le meilleur et pour le pire et pour reformer une fratrie.
Maggie O’Farrell sait nous mener des uns aux autres d’une manière incisive et légère et plante des personnages plus vrais que nature dans leurs désarrois. Voilà une belle plume empreinte de beaucoup de sensibilité et de générosité. Je regrette un peu la fin qui me semble assez convenue, heureusement que l’auteur ne s’appesantit pas dessus.
Meilleurs commentaires provenant d’autres pays
The first chapter is superb: we see the mother alone in the house; we see that she is greedy, constantly eating, spooning jam out of the pot because she ‘suffers from weakness’ if she doesn’t eat. This last is an example of her easy self -indulgence, her self-delusion, her hypochondria. And as she sits there eating & reflecting in a self-centred way, we see her false piety, her hypocrisy, her total lack of any intellectual capacity or empathy. She lives according to a set of pious homilies & prejudices, & uses manipulative behaviour to control her children, & perhaps her husband. It is hard to find any redeeming feature.
Clearly, Maggie O’Farrell can write fluently: the words pour off her pen; I might even say gush. What I feel about this book is that here is a very practised writer, who can reel off this fluid prose & concoct a seemingly plausible & credible narrative about family life, & in particular Irish family life. But somehow it’s too practised, & ultimately formulaic, so unsatisfying.
It is difficult to justify my criticism of the book, because if I think about the individual parts, for example the stories of the (grown up) children & their relationships with each other, their mother & in the wider world, I can see it is all skilfully done. And she has some beautiful turns of phrase. But as a whole it is all too pat.
Added to this is the fact that although we witness their individual anxieties etc, the overarching tone is one of sentimentality, increasingly evident as the story progresses. Certain key events test credulity, for example the father going off - disappearing - for what turns out to be a rather unconvincing reason, although I can see how the author has tried to make it credible. Yes, these are Irish people in the thrall of church/ social pressures, but for me that doesn’t gel as reason enough. But why exactly did he go without a word to anyone; it is all a bit vague.
As others have pointed out, the heatwave theme doesn’t really work. At times I think she evokes the heat well, but it doesn’t suffuse the book sufficiently to justify it as a main theme. The water shortage announcements that precede sections of the book are artificial & add nothing, clearly only there to justify the title of the book - “Instructions”. But worse is the metaphor about a Bunsen burner causing a reaction, acting as a catalyst to cause a change in the nature of things. I know others liked this but to me it was a clumsy attempt to explain these rather unbelievable events; particularly the father’s desertion, when surely it ought to be enough to say people were adversely affected by the heat. But that wouldn’t quite justify him doing something so apparently out of character, so we are treated to this obfuscation about Bunsen burners.
The narrative follows the changes in the main characters’ attitudes & relationships with each other - with the exception of the mother perhaps, although we do see a more caring side in the last chapter. But it is all too saccharine.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Overall, this is superior pulp fiction, of the saga variety.
There are some really funny little remarks and asides in it, I really like the humour, and a couple of sniffy moments for me as well. I hated Michael Francis always being referred to as such......I can't be doing with doubled-up Christian names, it always sounds daft to me and a real mouthful. I howled when Aoife remarked that he'd "knocked up a Prod" and the image of Vita licking her aunt as well. Loved the 'Sunday-school stain' story. I had to google divided skirts as I was clueless, though.
I noticed one rogue hyphen in photog-rapher's but that was the only mistake throughout so to be highly commended for this alone.
It was different to what I'd expected but I've still spent a highly enjoyable couple of days reading it.
One morning in the middle of the famous 1976 heatwave Robert, a retired bank manager, goes missing. His wife Gretta eventually manages to communicate the fact to their son and two daughters, who rally round to support their mother and attempt to locate their father.
On several technical fronts this book did not quite work for me. The central prop of the book is the disappearance, suddenly, without explanation, of Robert. Robert himself is a shadowy figure in the book, far too insubstantial to do the job the author requires. His absence should be a howling vortex, a black hole of potent emptiness which pulls the rest of the characters inexorably into it. But in fact the other characters – even Gretta, for whom her husband’s disappearance is reduced to an annoyance at not being able to find the shed key – don’t seem very anxious about him, there is no panic, only mild curiosity and a sense of overwhelming inconvenience. In itself, his disappearance seems unlikely. What at first seems like a spur-of-the-moment decision turns out to be planned; why didn’t he tell Gretta at least that he was going away for a few days, even if he didn’t explain the reason? Robert’s disappearance is a narrative ploy, a catalyst for bringing the rest of the family together. While they overcome their differences in order to work together to find him, this only proves that he isn’t very important as a unifying, cohesive force in the family at all.
Each of Gretta’s children are dealing with issues, secrets of various kinds which, boiled down, all stem from the domineering, hard-line Catholicism and inflexible nature of their mother. They hide things, they feel bad about things, because she would be angry, disapprove or fail to offer support. Unfortunately the Gretta which is presented to us in this book is neither domineering, hard-line nor inflexible. She comes across as eccentric, well-meaning but perhaps rather loud and embarrassing, definitely damaged, perhaps even suffering from mental health issues. I felt sorry for her although at times she did make me laugh.
The book is set against a heatwave and in places this is beautifully described, but it doesn’t really impact the story other than the characters feel hot. The plot calls from them to travel to Ireland and I must say that the refreshment of the ocean crossing did impact the plot and the atmosphere. The eponymous Instructions for a Heatwave which preface each chapter play no role at all in the story, and seemed like a device.
All in all I would say that strong writing and vivid characters proved too weighty for the flimsy structure of this book, they deserved better. If I had been Ms O’Farrell’s editor I would have suggested a substantial beefing up of Robert’s character, making him the mainstay and stronghold of the family, and a significant hardening of Gretta’s, making her into the doughty, waspish and domineering woman her children all imagine her to be. Finally I would have ditched the title and thought of something better.