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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Paperback – June 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
This is a purposely—and appropriately—disjointed novel that steadily comes into strong focus. The intensity of the story is gripping as secrets are revealed, relationships are not... Read morePublished 5 days ago by iajan
I liked this book, which concerns itself with mental illness, family relations, self image, independence, and bullying at school. Read morePublished 19 days ago by maureen melle
This is an amazing read. I couldn't put it down. The characters of Esme, Her sister, Kitty, and her granddaughter, Iris, are artfully constructed and the author thoughtfully... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Spellbound throughout. Fascinating perspective. Gut wrenching. This story will haunt me and keep me gnawing on its bone and of all its marrow.Published 28 days ago by Z_ Rill
Annoyed I have to recommend this book before I can read further, should be my choice to recommend or notPublished 1 month ago
Hard to follow at first or believe....but then could not put it down. Well written and said beautifully under 400 pages. This is when so many are writing 800 page tomesPublished 1 month ago by dorothy litwin
It was so much better the second time reading it. Great book and well written.Published 2 months ago by katie 74