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. Alice's family gathers at her bedside and as they wait, argue, and remember, long-buried tensions emerge. The more they talk, the more they seem to conceal. Alice, meanwhile, slides between varying levels of consciousness, recalling her past and a love affair that recently ended. A riveting story that skips through time and interweaves multiple points of view, After You'd Gone is a novel of stunning psychological depth and marks the debut of a major literary talent.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm an avid reader, an oftentimes jaded reader, and a book has to be nothing short of remarkable to make me visibly emotional. But Maggie O'Farrell's book made me both laugh and cry out loud, and kept me up all night until I finished. After You'd Gone is a series of flashbacks, written from different perspectives, that together form a highly emotional family portrait. You can't help but be drawn in by the characters. You feel for them, you understand them, and you ultimately care what happens to them. Oftentimes, British novels with British characters are a little more difficult for American readers to relate to. But this is not the case with O'Farrell's book. Male or female, young or old, everyone can appreciate this story. It is an easy read, full of humor, romance, and grief - a unique combination that will stay with you long after you are finished.
I bought this book in a store yesterday on a whim - it's her first book so I've never heard anything about her - and I stayed up until 4am last night to finish it. I don't read much British (or Scottish, in this case) fiction but after "After You'd Gone" I fully intend to. First off, it's a fascinating, addictive storyline: you honestly will not be able to put it down. Secondly, the characters are so real and recognisable they seem to reach out of the page and grab you. It's beautifully written; O'Farrell has a deft, poetic control of language. The central part is a really passionate love story. And it's that very rare thing, especially in debut novels - completely original. It was particularly interesting for me because it centres around an affair between Jewish man and a Gentile woman, giving an insight into modern Judaeo-Christian relationships in Britain - which is not something you find every day in British fiction. I'd advise everyone to read this. I...
Alice Raikes is both heroine and victim. Just one short year ago she had the life she dreamed of and the love of her life at her side. An act of random terror changes Alice's life forever and subsequently that of her family. As Alice struggles with depression she reaches out to her sisters, Beth and Kirsty, deciding to pay them an impromptu visit in Scotland. Unbeknownst to her sisters Alice witnesses yet another event that shatters her already fragile mind. Rushing home to London Alice steps off a curb into oncoming traffic. An accident or suicide, no one knows for sure. As Alice lays in a coma in a hospital with her family by her side, the secrets from her past unravel. Alice's will to live resurfaces as she is faced with her memories and the voices of her loved ones' reach below the surface of her mind. This is a truly remarkable story. Maggie O'Farrell writes with such emotion I couldn't help but be drawn into the lives of Alice and her mother Ann, her sister's...
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