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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Paperback – June 2, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an interesting and moving story. Esme is a wonderful character and I felt sad and angry by the way that she had been cheated out of her life. I also liked Iris (though would have preferred less emphasis on her relationships with the men in her life and more on her relationship with Esme). The narrative jumps between Iris, Esme in the present day, Esme and Kitty as children and Kitty in the present day. It took me a while to get my head round the various strands. Kitty has Alzheimer's so her sections are written in a rambling stream of consciousness, which take a little getting used to but which is quite effective.
The ending is somewhat rushed and vaguely written. But it still packs a punch. It's one that you want to discuss with others. Overall this is a very good read that stays with you for some time.
If you enjoyed this book, I recommend The Secret Scripture which is also about a woman locked away in a mental asylum many years ago for spurious reasons.
In fine, exact language, this slim novel unfolds through the fractured point-of-views of Iris, Esme, and Iris's grandmother Kitty, who suffers from Alzheimer's. The narrative is structured like a jigsaw puzzle, with bits of information judiciously offered until the whole picture is assembled. Unfortunately, the "secret" behind Esme's confinement and Kitty's guilt is a little too predictable, and the final act of the novel seems somewhat over-the-top and therefore not as satisfying as one might like. Still, O'Farrell's handling of the story and its issues is both evocative and authoritative.
Readers interested in the changing expectations of women may be intrigued by the author's premise that, while gender expectations may change over generations, women who rebel against society's rules still do so at personal cost. Because this book is not told in a straightforward narrative, casual readers may be frustrated trying to figure out what is happening, but readers of more serious fiction will find it both accessible and a quick read. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a good, but not great, book - the perfect book for an evening or two by the fire.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not what I expected...closure for a family in the oddest sort of way. It is amazing how a person's life can be destroyed because she is simply misunderstood and never receives the... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Eloisa Lovato
Very basic story , new the ending before a1/3 of the way through.Published 16 days ago by Maureen Davison
This book was just sad, but I liked it! If you are in the mood for a melancholy read that leaves you feeling hollow for a life wasted, this is a great book!Published 17 days ago by Books, Beach and Sun
I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of twists. Did not expect the ending. Left with one or two questions. It is a quick read.Published 20 days ago by Barbarann Lewis
Captivating and thrilling story. Read it and you will not be disappointed.Published 2 months ago by Leia
I couldn't put this book down. A very good story. Sad at times, but very interesting. Maggie O'Farrell is an excellent storyteller. .Published 3 months ago by Carmen Vega
A fast, entertaining read - I'd call it a beach book (although a little bit sad). Took about 2 hours to read start to finish.Published 4 months ago by BellaGrace
This book made no sense the further I got into it. And then the ending? I have no idea what happened to the main characters. Read morePublished 4 months ago by sassysaysso