Amazon’s Best Picks for February
"I Am I Am I Am is a gripping and glorious investigation of death that leaves the reader feeling breathless, grateful, and fully alive. Maggie O’Farrell is a miracle in every sense. I will never forget this book."
“It takes a deft storyteller to alternate between charming and terrifying on the page but here it is, a set of linked stories that play with that most curious fact: that we experience life’s joys and losses in the context of a mortal vessel. I would follow Maggie Farrell anywhere, even to the edge of death seventeen times.”
—Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place, Glitter and Glue and Tell Me More
"Heart-stopping... Genius... Maggie O'Farrell turned 17 near-death experiences into a literary masterwork "
"With stunning language and inventiveness, Maggie O’Farrell unpacks these moments...so brilliantly, uncovering in the particulars of each those shining, universal experiences, that they are a pleasure to read. And, indeed, difficult to stop reading... There are echoes of Virginia Woolf not just in the rhythm of the prose but also in its dreamlike immediacy. The effect, ingeniously, is of a life told through the gaps, those near misses, on the eluding of which the rest of life hangs."
—The Wall Street Journal
"As its title suggests, [I Am, I Am, I Am's] pounding pulse is ultimately life-affirming. It's an extraordinary book, a reminder that while life has its limits and can be unpredictable, we should push against limitations and not give in to fear. It is also, like O'Farrell's seven intricately constructed, blissfully absorbing novels, full of surprises."
“This intense, unsparing memoir is less about death than about chance, risk and the gift of another day.”
“A page-turner of a memoir . . . . O’Farrell describes in beautiful prose her many near-death experiences, at once demonstrating the fragility of life—and its preciousness.”
—Elle Magazine “New and Noteworthy” (March 2018)
“Gripping…this breathtaking memoir weaves together the author's near-death experiences to create a fully realized picture of what it means to fully live a life… O'Farrell's memoir contemplates not just the frailty of life, but the fortitude of the human spirit in the face of it all.”
“[I AM, I AM, I AM is] impossible to miss.”
—Paste / 10 of the Best Books of February
"Bold... clever and poignant, thought provoking and deeply affective."
"Her stories are harrowing, but the purpose of these essays is not to frighten. It is to affirm. She did not die; she lived through all of these experiences and now recounts each one in vivid, fully alive detail — remembering the feeling of the wind in her hair, the roughness of the grass, the jolt of the plane, the sharpness of the machete."
"Not a single false moment...What makes this memoir so fine, so special, is not just the power of these brushes with death, but her examination of them...The book is quite intimate in all senses of the word—physically, psychologically, mentally, and emotionally. There is something truly generous about her style. Reading this memoir is like being taken further and further through the layers of a human life down to some mysterious core from which all meaning emanates. It shows us what it means to be vulnerably alive, to digest the seemingly indigestible fact of our mortality. This is a memoir to be cherished."
“Astounding…awe-inspiring…a tour de force”
—Booklist, starred review
Praise from the UK:
“A rich celebration of every breath O’Farrell has taken.”
“Where other writers may be playing with paper, O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart.”
“Extraordinary… uncomfortable and compelling – a page turner… Fluent, poised, packed with colourful details. Her prose seems invulnerable. It has the sheen of fiction.”
—Guardian, Book of the Month, August 2017
“O’Farrell emerges as determined, loyal, fierce and stoic; not to be messed with… The message is that we must live in the moment, finding joy and freedom where we can, but O’Farrell writes so convincingly about the peril that each episode just serves as another detailed, technicolour reminder that we, and more terrifyingly, our loved ones, are only ever one bad decision, faulty choice or sliver of ill-fortune away from catastrophe. This is a mesmerising read.”
“O’Farrell has a compelling and arresting writing style that fills in a scene quickly and engagingly, to great dramatic and narrative effect… It is heady, engaging stuff – a bristling, rollercoaster of a read.”
“Electric… Astonishing… Should be read by everyone… Affecting: wise, terrifying, vital and important… I can count on one hand the books that made me cry and still have two fingers spare. I Am, I Am, I Am is one of them.”