Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Hand That First Held Mine

Title: The Hand That First Held Mine

Author: Maggie O’Farrell

Number of pages: 341

Started: 24 November 2010

Finished: 30 November 2010

Opening words:

Listen. The trees in this story are stirring, trembling, readjusting themselves. A breeze is coming in gusts off the sea, and it is almost as if the trees know, in their restlessness, in their head-tossing impatience, that something is about to happen.

Read a longer excerpt here.

Watch a video by Maggie O’Farrell about the book here.

Plot summary:

When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life for herself, with Innes at her side. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.

What I thought:

I enjoyed this book. It was well written novel made up of two separate narratives that over the link between them became clear. It was a decent plot, although it is now not entirely original to have different narrators telling parts of the tale.

I thought the novel showed a maturity that seemed to show the author’s experience of writing, even though I have not read any of her other books. This was a good book, and I suspect it will be a real contender to win the Costa Prize.

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