‘Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life’
This Must be the Place by Maggie O’ Farrell was published in May 2016 by Tinder Press. I have read Maggie O’ Farrell books in the past but just did not get the opportunity, with other review commitments, to get to this wonderful book until the Christmas holidays.
What a treat!!
Read on for my full thoughts…
A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.
He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home.
Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
Wow…where to start???
Maggie O’ Farrell has written a novel that spans generations and continents, yet it all ties together so well and draws you right in from the beginning.
Daniel Sullivan, an American, is settled in the wilds of Donegal with his wife Claudette and their children, six year old Marithe and baby Calvin. Daniel has been married before, with his children from his previous marriage, Niall and Phoebe, remaining in the States.
Daniel is a linguistics specialist, teaching at a university in Belfast, commuting back and forth to Donegal on a weekly basis. His father, from whom he is estranged, is approaching his ninetieth birthday and after being pressurized by his sisters, Daniel makes the decision to travel home to New York.
This journey home becomes a trip of redemption for Daniel as he makes decisions and revisits the life he had left behind.
Claudette, Daniel’s wife, is a reclusive film actress, who left the glamour of the Hollywood lights behind and escaped to the remotest part of Ireland, up a mountain trail in Donegal.
‘The word ‘remote’ doesn’t even come close to describing the house. It’s in one of the least populated valleys of Ireland, at an altitude even the sheep eschew, let alone the people….reached only by a track that passes through numerous livestock fences. Hence the gates (twelve gates between the house and the road).To get here, you have to really want to get here.‘
Through a twist of fate (and a broken down car!!), Daniel and Claudette literally cross paths. Immediately there is a connection between them and, even though Claudette has chosen to lock herself away from society, she lets Daniel into her life. Daniel sees in Claudette the woman he has been looking for all his life. Her eccentricities only add to the attraction and Daniel is only too happy to remain in Ireland and start a new life for himself there.
Claudette’s story is quite a tragic one, where the frailty of the human mind is portrayed by Maggie O’ Farrell beautifully. Claudette had a life in the spotlight. She had the money, the partner, the adulation….but it was not enough for Claudette. Her life was no longer her own. Her quest for peace and quiet dominating her life. After the birth of her son, Ari, she escapes a life of chaos and winds up in the hills of Donegal.
It is the combination of these stories and the journey that Maggie O’ Farrell takes the reader on, that truly puts this book where it rightfully belongs…at the top of many a bestseller list for 2016 and a firm favourite with writers and readers alike.
There is a very human story running through This Must be The Place. These are very real people whose lives have become disjointed over time. Both Daniel and Claudette have faced serious difficulties in their lives, both together and separately. These tragedies have forced them to look at their lives and where it is they want to be.
Throughout the novel there are five children who’s lives are directly affected by the actions of Claudette and Daniel. These children have struggled to make sense of the life they have been given, a life full of upheaval, turmoil and tragedy.
Each chapter takes us on a journey back and forth across decades and continents but yet it is written with such fluidity in it’s prose, as a reader you will glide easily over the pages.
I really do love a book like this and am delighted to have finally had the opportunity to take the time out that was required to truly enjoy every single page. I really hope you get that chance too….
Purchase Link : This Must be The Place
About the Author:
Maggie O’Farrell is the author of seven novels, AFTER YOU’D GONE, MY LOVER’S
LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, THE
VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, which won
the 2010 Costa Novel Award, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATW AVE, which was
shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE.
She lives in Edinburgh.