From time to time you discover a book so affecting you know it will stay with you long after the last page is turned. This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell is such a book. It is a reinvention – a step beyond the author’s previous work and a blessing. It took several days for me to process – to even think about writing a review – and even now, I doubt my ability to conjure the words to do it justice.
“Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life.”
What follows, after we do meet Daniel, is more complex than complicated, but so perfectly arranged we are never in danger of losing our way.
Daniel’s world has been rocked by a failed marriage and a callous custody battle. Escaping to Ireland, he meets Claudette – a reclusive, world-famous film actress on the run from her own life and the trappings of unwanted fame. Together they create a new existence, make more children and settle into isolated family bliss. Daniel’s past, laden with a terrible secret, catches up with him. As their idyllic life begins to disintegrate, we witness the past and the unravelling of the present through a myriad other stories. Although the telling is dominated by Daniel’s voice it is exquisitely embellished by those of the other people irrevocably attached to him.
It is impossible not to be affected by the experience of being inside this glorious love-story. The reader is drawn, a willing fly into the web of O’Farrell’s effortless, dazzling prose.
It is some time since I have been so touched by a book. It must surely be impossible to read This Must Be The Place and not be mesmerised by the breadth and perfection of it. Once it is released, on 17 May, I want you to buy it and read it and then, if you haven’t already discovered Maggie O’Farrell, explore her back catalogue and fall headlong in love.
There are not enough stars.
I am indebted to Georgina Moore at Headline for a proof copy of the book.