The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

3.82 (20,598 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Maggie O'Farrell's captivating and critically acclaimed gothic tale of family secrets and the irrepressible freedom that truth brings Chic and independent, Iris Lockhart is tending to her vintage-clothing shop in Edinburgh (and evading her married boyfriend) when she receives a stunning phone call: her great-aunt Esme whom she never knew existed is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been locked away for more than sixty years. Iris s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme s papers prove she is Kitty s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her father in Esme s face. Esme has been labeled harmless sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world but she's still basically a stranger, a family member hidden away who will surely bring secrets with her when she leaves the ward. Moving expertly among the voices of Iris, Kitty, and Esme herself, Maggie O'Farrell reveals the story of Esme's tragic and haunting absence."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 245 pages
  • 132.08 x 198.12 x 17.78mm | 226.8g
  • English
  • Revised
  • 0156033674
  • 9780156033671
  • 80,802

Back cover copy

A "Wall Street Journal "BestsellerA "Washington Post Book World" Best Book of the Year "I found this actually unputdownable, written with a gripping dramatic insidiousness reminiscent of classic writers like Rebecca West and Daphne Du Maurier." --Ali Smith, author of "The Accidental"Esme Lennox is a dreamy child, an odd, bookish young woman, the kind of girl who stares and listens and won't flirt with boys at dances. And then, in the space of a moment, Esme Lennox is gone.Years later, a stunning phone call breaks the silence at Iris Lockhart's vintage clothing shop: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital after more than sixty years. Iris's grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme's face. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, sure to bring life-altering secrets when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit? "Haunting. O'Farrell is a feminist avenging angel who wields the modern Gothic like a gleaming sword." - "The Boston Globe ""Think Kate Chopin's "The Awakening," Charlotte Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' or Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea" . . . It's a breathtaking, heart-breaking creation . . . In O'Farrell's fierce, engrossing novel, the crimes of the past rear up with surprising vengeance." - "The""Washington Post Book World"Maggie O'Farrell is the author of three previous novels, including her acclaimed debut, "After You'd Gone." Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh. Visit www.HarcourtBooks.com/EsmeLennox. Discussion guide available at www.HarcourtBooks.com.
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Review quote

PRAISE FOR "THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX" "I found this actually unputdownable, written with charge and energy and a kind of compelling drive, a clarity and a gripping dramatic insidiousness reminiscent of classic writers like Rebecca West and Daphne du Maurier." --Ali Smith "Almost ridiculously pleasurable . . . shocking, heartbreaking, and fascinating." --"The Times "(London)
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Rating details

20,598 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (4,887)
4 43% (8,923)
3 26% (5,287)
2 6% (1,196)
1 1% (305)

Our customer reviews

Esme has spent 60 years in an institution. Iris receives notice that Esme is to be released and that she, Iris, is her next of kin. Iris has never heard of Esme and yet is told she is her grandmother Kitty's sister. Kitty is in a nursing home suffering from alzheimer's and Iris has no one else to turn to for information about this mysterious old lady who is evidently her relative. The story is told in layers which gradually reveal how Esme came to be in the institution and exactly how she fits into the family. In many ways the subject is a depressing one and yet this is an astonishingly beautiful book. I was mesmerised.show more
by Robert Wight
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