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This Must Be the Place: The bestselling novel from the prize-winning author of HAMNET (English Edition) Format Kindle
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A top-ten bestseller 2016, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE by Maggie O'Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. 'A complex, riveting novel of love and hope that grips at the heart' The Sunday Times
A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her family, and what made her walk out of her cinematic career when she had the whole world at her feet?
Her husband Daniel, reeling from a discovery about a woman he last saw twenty years ago, is about to make an exit of his own. It is a journey that will send him off-course, far away from the life he and Claudette have made together. Will their love for one another be enough to bring Daniel back home?
Description du produit
This Must Be the Place
The Strangest Feeling in My Legs
There is a man.
He’s standing on the back step, rolling a cigarette. The day is typically unstable, the garden lush and shining, the branches weighty with still-falling rain.
There is a man and the man is me.
I am at the back door, tobacco tin in hand, and I am watching something in the trees, a figure, standing at the perimeter of the garden, where the aspens crowd in at the fence. Another man.
He’s carrying a pair of binoculars and a camera.
A -bird--watcher, I am telling myself as I pull the frail paper along my tongue, you get them in these parts. But at the same time I’m thinking, -Really? -Bird--watching, this far up the valley? I’m also thinking, Where is my daughter, the baby, my wife? How quickly could I reach them, if I needed to?
My heart cranks into high gear, -thud--thudding against my ribs. I squint into the white sky. I am about to step out into the garden. I want the guy to know I’ve seen him, to see me seeing him. I want him to register my size, my former -track--and--field--star physique (slackening and loosening a little, these days, admittedly). I want him to run the odds, me versus him, through his head. He’s not to know I’ve never been in a fight in my life and intend it to stay that way. I want him to feel what I used to feel before my father disciplined me: I am on to you, he would say, with a pointing finger, directed first at his chest, then mine.
I am on to you, I want to yell while I fumble to pocket my cigarette and lighter.
The guy is looking in the direction of the house. I see the tinder spark of sun on a lens and a movement of his arm that could be the brushing away of a hair across the forehead or the depression of a camera shutter.
Two things happen very fast. The dog—a whiskery, leggy, slightly arthritic wolfhound, usually given to sleeping by the stove— streaks out of the door, past my legs, and into the garden, emitting a volley of low barks, and a woman comes around the side of the house.
She has the baby on her back, she is wearing the kind of sou’wester hood usually sported by North Sea fishermen, and she is holding a shotgun.
She is also my wife.
The latter fact I still have trouble adjusting to, not only because the idea of this creature ever agreeing to marry me is highly improbable, but also because she pulls unexpected shit like this all the time.
“Jesus, honey,” I gasp, and I am momentarily distracted by how shrill my voice is. “Unmanly” -doesn’t cover it. I sound as if I’m admonishing her for an -ill--judged choice in soft furnishings or for wearing pumps that clash with her purse.
She ignores my high-pitched intervention—who can blame her?—and fires into the air. Once, twice.
If, like me, you’ve never heard a gun report at close range, let me tell you the noise is an ear shattering explosion. Magnesium-hued lights go off inside your head; your ears ring with the three-bar high note of an aria; your sinuses fill with tar.
The sound ricochets off the side of the house, off the flank of the mountain, then back again: a huge aural tennis ball bouncing about the valley. I realize that while I’m ducking, cringing, covering my head, the baby is strangely unmoved. He’s still sucking his thumb, head leaning against the spread of his mother’s hair. Almost as if he’s used to this. Almost as if he’s heard it all before.
I straighten up. I take my hands off my ears. Far away, a figure is sprinting through the undergrowth. My wife turns around. She cracks the gun in the crook of her arm. She whistles for the dog. “Ha,” she says to me before she vanishes back around the side of the house. “That’ll show him.”
My wife, I should tell you, is crazy. Not in a requiring-medication-and-wards-and-men-in-white-coats sense although I sometimes wonder if there may have been times in her past—but in a subtle, more socially acceptable, less ostentatious way. She -doesn’t think like other people. She believes that to pull a gun on someone lurking, in all likelihood entirely innocently, at our perimeter fence is not only permissible but indeed the right thing to do.
Here are the bare facts about the woman I married:
—She’s crazy, as I might have mentioned.
—She’s a recluse.
She’s apparently willing to pull a gun on anyone threatening to uncover her hiding place.
I dart, insomuch as a man of my size can dart, through the house to catch her. I’m going to have this out with her. She can’t keep a gun in a house where there are small children. She just can’t.
I’m repeating this to myself as I pass through the house, planning to begin my protestations with it. But as I come through the front door, it’s as if I’m entering another world. Instead of the gray drizzle at the back, a dazzling, primrose-tinted sun fills the front garden, which gleams and sparks as if hewn from jewels. My daughter is leaping over a rope that her mother is -turning. My wife who, just a moment ago, was a dark, forbidding figure with a gun, a long gray coat, and a hat like Death’s hood, she has shucked off the sou’wester and transmogrified back to her usual incarnation. The baby is crawling on the grass, knees wet with rain, the bloom of an iris clutched in his fist, chattering to himself in a satisfied, guttural growl.
It’s as if I’ve stepped into another time frame entirely, as if I’m in one of those folktales where you think you’ve been asleep for an hour or so, but you wake to find you’ve been away a lifetime, that all your loved ones and everything you’ve ever known are dead and gone. Did I -really just walk in from the other side of the house, or did I fall asleep for a hundred years?
I shake off this notion. The gun business needs to be dealt with right now. “Since when,” I demand, “do we own a firearm?”
My wife raises her head and meets my eye with a challenging, flinty look, the skipping rope coming to a stop in her hand. “We don’t,” she says. “It’s mine.”
A typical parry from her. She appears to answer the question without answering it at all. She picks on the element that isn’t the subject of the question. The essence of sidestepping.
I rally. I’ve had more than enough practice. “Since when do you own a firearm?”
She shrugs a shoulder, bare, I notice, and tanned to a soft gold, bisected by a thin white strap. I feel a momentary automatic mobilization deep inside my underwear—strange how this doesn’t change with age for men, that we’re all of us but a membrane away from our inner teenage selves—but I pull my attention back to the discussion. She’s not going to get away with this.
“Since now,” she says.
“What’s a fire arm?” my daughter asks, splitting the word in two, her small, heart-shaped face tilted up to look at her mother.
“It’s an Americanism,” my wife says. “It means ‘gun.’ ”
“Oh, the gun,” says my sweet Marithe, six years old, equal parts pixie, angel, and sylph. She turns to me. “Father Christmas brought Donal a new one, so he said Maman could have his old one.”
This utterance renders me, for a moment, speechless. Donal is an -ill--scented homunculus who farms the land farther down the valley. He—and his wife, I’d imagine—have what you might call a problem with anger management. Somewhat trigger-happy, Donal. He shoots everything on sight: squirrels, rabbits, foxes, -hill walkers (just kidding).
“What is going on?” I say. “You’re keeping a firearm in the house and—”
“ ‘Gun,’ Daddy. Say ‘gun.’ ”
“—a gun, without telling me? Without discussing it with me? Don’t you see how dangerous that is? What if one of the children—”
My wife turns, her hem swishing through the wet grass. “Isn’t it nearly time to leave for your train?”
Biographie de l'auteur
Détails sur le produit
- ASIN : B011IYIEW2
- Éditeur : Tinder Press (17 mai 2016)
- Langue : Anglais
- Taille du fichier : 2648 KB
- Synthèse vocale : Activée
- Lecteur d’écran : Pris en charge
- Confort de lecture : Activé
- X-Ray : Activé
- Word Wise : Activé
- Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 402 pages
- Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon : 36,396 en Boutique Kindle (Voir les 100 premiers en Boutique Kindle)
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À propos de l'auteur
Meilleures évaluations de France
Un problème s'est produit lors du filtrage des commentaires. Veuillez réessayer ultérieurement.
However, although the complicated structure of the book is perfectly mastered by O'Farrell, to me it was all over the place, and I found the constant shifts of time and place less than satisfying. But perhaps this is an entirely personal feeling, maybe I just prefer plain chronological narration!
I liked the main character, Daniel, very much, but I thought Claudette was very hard on him....
So a good book, though not particulary gripping nor entirely satisfactory as far as I'm concerned. I still think O'Farrell is very talented but I am less a fan than I was, due to my tastes evolving...
You may question the credibility of the the starting point, the vanishing act of a former film star. Nevertheless I love this book because of his emotional insight, its subtle portrayal of human relationships, its ability to keep together the numerous strains of the storytelling and above all its superb command of the language." ...those doubled electric doors, curved in shape, which open and shut with an hesitant glide, creating a momentary parenthesis around those who pass them": this is the signature of a master.
Meilleurs commentaires provenant d’autres pays
This is a shame really as M O'F is a beautiful writer, evoking place and mood, but at least for this book it seems to be at the expense of story and character. This is the only book of hers that I've read and, from reviews, seasoned fans suggest it is out of character, so perhaps worth persevering.
The idea is interesting - tracing the arc of a marriage - but the execution and characterisation don't work for me. It might make a better film or mini series.
I like the way she writes and loved 'the vanishing act of Esme Lennox but found this much harder work. The story line is quite thin and cutting it up and imposing time changes and different narrative voices does not disguise this well enough. Neither Claudette or daniel are intrinsically likeable or, more fatally, believable, characters and I found it difficult to sustain a sufficient level of interest in either of them which means that the outcome of their marriage is a bit of a non-starter as a hook and two of the minor players had interesting tales to be told that were left hanging in the air. We did hear a bit about what happened to Claudette's first partner but there were still inanswered qustions and the middle-aged woman on the road trip with Daniel had a fascinating tale which ccould easily have been expanded upon
overall it just felt that she was trying too hard to make something meaningful and significant out of a very ordinary tale
The writing style takes a little getting used to, as the narrative moves between characters and time periods quite frequently, and in some cases the style of writing changes altogether when this happens. It can be distressing for the reader; just when you get deeply drawn into one character's plight, you are suddenly transported to a completely (seemingly) unrelated person 10 year prior. This isn't a criticism though; each storyline is compelling in its own way, and while you may be briefly frustrated at wanting to know what happens next to character X, you'll quickly find yourself being equally invested in the life of character Y. This is a testament to how deep each of the main characters are, and their tales all ultimately tie together and contribute to the central theme of Daniel and Claudette's marriage.
Maggie O'Farrell's writing style is certainly one of the more unique that I have come across recently. She is very adept at capturing emotion which lets us emphasize with the characters, and giving depth to her whole cast so that even larger-than-life figures like Claudette are completely humanised and endearing, and peripheral characters like Ari have distinct personalities despite relatively little word-count focused on them. More notably though, while O'Farrell employs some 'twists' in the story, they are heavily forecast and sometimes bluntly stated long before they occur, so when they do happen we focus on the characters responding and dealing with them, rather than experiencing the shock impact ourselves. I've noticed this is employed in several of her books, and it's a very effective technique.
This is one of the few books in my adult life I've read more than once, and the story, writing, characters were all just as engaging and heart-wrenching on repeated readings. Cannot recommend enough.